the painful part of absence is the deepness of the silence

Day 9: "Little". On my monitor at work, there is a tiny rubber ducky.
On the duck is an even tinier rubber Buddha.
I do not know what this means.

I prohibit me to tell
our dim secret in the night,
tell your name or let me write
it out complete as I am able.
Prisoner of you, in hell
I live hunting in the stark,
anguished cavern of my dark.
And when I call to you alone by name,
in the black rock I touch the same
impassive company’s dim mark.


If our love shall be constructed
of the silences drawn out
that our lips, grown ripe with pouting,
from the heart’s deep core deducted;
if the heart, when it’s destructed,
bleeds like the grenadine
in its shadowy decline,
why not, sad and withered, break
the agony of this awful wake
to leave nothingness behind?


For the fear of loving me
as I loved you, at the first,
you have chosen, what is worst,
to save yourself, losing me.
But your heart is cold, unmoving,
and in this way I’m bereft
of your presence and your breath.
And though you don’t let me see you,
what is my hurt soon will be you—
because my death must be your death.


You go forth then from my presence,
thinking you have wounded me
and don’t know, too soon for me,
that the painful part of absence
is the deepness of the silence
as my sadness grows apace.
In the dark, to my disgrace,
I take the echo for your voice
and perceive, despite my choice,
your form still in empty space.


Why’d you ever let me glimpse,
when the hope was so remote?
What is past has been revoked
and my urge cannot convince.
And if dawn’s fled ever since
from my night without an end,
can from desert wastes I send
pleas to terminate this strife,
to put life back into life,
mending what will never mend?


It’s dark, it’s bitter, and it swells
all through my body, and it leaves
behind a taste that simply grieves
with bitterness. Long after, it will dwell
on like your odor, casting spells
and, like memory, insist
and, like your scent, will not desist
in its penetrating essence
in the lonely, cruel presence
of the you left over when you don’t exist.


You’ve barely just come back—and how
all my bleary hopes strive to force out
before it’s time the urge to shout,
“You’ve got it! This is it now!”
But the voice rebounds in darkness;
there’s no echo in the moisture
of my solitary cloister,
and I still continue thinking
that the chance of hope is sinking,
if to hope is to be torture.


I dreamed of you last night. We trembled,
the two of us, in the sterile rapture
of a dark dream, its blemished capture.
And across your body scrambled
tender lips that, as they rambled,
would leave pathmarks, signs and wounds.
And your cries, your painwracked sounds,
and my own, delirious, undissembled,
in those brief moments reassembled
lives we stretched beyond their bounds.


If I hope for nothing, then what trembled
when we met, in nothing ended,
and before my eyes suspended
was a truth that was dissembled.
If no glint of feeling glimmered
in your look of exaltation,
then the reason for sensation
and the force that drives me to you
stripped of hope, my life to be you,
is, without doubt…desperation!


What was love for you has never died!
Living on in cold, forgotten halls,
it is carved in my heart’s walls.
When I entered, they defied
all attempts to get outside.
This is, then, how life will be
as I wander to break free,
blindly searching just behind you—
with a hidden guarantee:
that I’ll certainly not find you.

[Xavier Villaurrutia, {1903-1950} ‘Decimas of Our Love’, from Homesick for Death—Dead Nocturnes: The Complete Poems of Xavier Villaurrutia]


  1. Thank you for the poem Amy! It is just... oooft.

    1. I'm glad you thought so, too! His book was hard to read - the intensity was overwhelming - but I found it too compelling to let go.