by Pat Hanahoe-Dosch

                          (After Gregory Orr)

What did you mean? he asks.
Nothing, she says.  It was nothing,
like the nothing of your absence
for days, no phone call, no email,
the nothing of your silences,
like the nothing of the furnace
which won’t turn on and leaves the house
cold in January in the first
serious frost of the night,
or the way empty chairs slump
around an empty kitchen table
while the microwave blinks
that nothing is finished
cooking and ready to eat.
This is the nothing of Sunday mornings,
quietly turning in bed to find
nothing there, the empty space
like the nothing left behind
in an empty house, for sale,
furniture and belongings all removed,
papers signed and delivered,
only dust left to settle anywhere
or nowhere, the nothing of doors
opening into rooms where no one
lives anymore, the nothing of nights
when nothing at all happens, nothing
but the occasional cockroach or mouse
searching through nothing left behind,
and somewhere, she is nowhere
to be found, nothing left
of the nothing they both finished
leaving for no one, their absence, their silences.


Pat Hanahoe-Dosch has an MFA from the University of
Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, and is currently an Associate
Professor of English at Harrisburg Area Community College
on the campus in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Her first collection
of poems,
Fleeing Back, was published by FutureCycle Press
in 2012, and her second,
The Wrack Line, is forthcoming from
the same press in 2017.  Hanahoe-Dosch’s poems have been
published in
Rattle, The Paterson Literary Review, The
Atticus Review
, Confrontation, The Red River Review, San
Pedro River Review
, Marco Polo Arts Magazine, Red Ochre
, and other literary journals.  This poem, “Nothing,” was
inspired by Gregory Orr’s “Two Poems About Nothing”
(which is really just one poem) from his book
The Caged Owl.    

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 11, Number 2
(Fall 2016)

Copyright © 2016
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
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