Please Excuse My Absence

by Peter Leight

I’m not saying I’m not going to be here,

absence is a room I’m not even staying in, as when you’re standing outside and wondering
what’s going on inside,

is it nothing or something you care about,

or something else?

I’m not saying I don’t need to be here,

absence isn’t a door you close in order to be able to open it, or a door you open in order to see
what isn’t there,

I didn’t even know they were taking attendance—

if it’s a problem,

honestly I don’t even know if it’s a problem.

The absence isn’t something you take with you when you aren’t here—

when you think about all the things that are absent what are you really thinking about?

Sometimes I think I’m waiting for something that isn’t here,

what is it?

I’m waiting to find out.

Of course people don’t always stay in the same place:

you’re often absent when somebody else isn’t here, somebody who’s supposed to be here—

now you’re being sensitive.

I’m not even looking in the mirror,

I mean absence isn’t something you see in yourself,

or something you look for when you aren’t there,

of course you don’t need the absence in order to read into it something that isn’t there.

— from Juniper Volume 2, Issue 1