The Burden of Filling the Vacant Spaces / by Rebecca Tillett

It takes you years to realize that sometimes you can't see something by looking straight at it. You keep your eyes forward instead and watch the rolling ghosts from the sides of your eyes, cursing their obscurity but feeling gratitude at seeing them at all. So many people can't see them. So many people never learn to see from the sides of their eyes. So many never wake with clenched jaws, with jagged teeth newly softened and smoothed and transformed to powder. So many have never hosted such a civil war in their mouths. They'll never mourn the fatalities, the wounded, the lost. You'll never crush things between your teeth the way you used to. You acknowledge this. Your tongue rests in the now vacant spaces. You acknowledge the burden of filling the vacant spaces. Try not to grieve for yourself, for those who can't fill them for you. They want to.