Spilling Empty Cup

I’ve known no quiet as empty or

full as a hospital room whose machinery


has gone silent. It mimics the body in the

bed—compounds its quality. Ambiguity is dead:

   He’s gone.

   Full stop.

No dispute.


this destitute quiet somehow bursts

with novel truths:

   he isn’t using that anymore—

   that rigid hand and stiff neck;


that static hand. Too soon. That feels righteous,

echo banging walls. I start talking out loud.

I’ve said it all, but I speak

anyway—maybe to stem the quiet,

maybe because I’ve seen

other people talk to empty bodies.


I say the important things that he knew—

that we said before. Back when he was


still using that. And I’m the room—

some vital piece, an inhabitant, not here anymore.

and I can’t call on it for aid; I can’t consult it

or need it anymore.


this quiet is my cup brimming and spilling

lessons. They’re awful. They’re obvious.


They put sudden

life in old platitudes.

They say loud and for the first time:



Miguel Eichelberger has had over 60 poems appear in literary magazines around the world including the Literary Review of Canada, Plainsongs Magazine, Soliloquies Anthology, Poetry Salzburg, Existere, and the pacificREVIEW. His first play, Cave, was shortlisted for the 2015 Vancouver Fringe New Play Prize. His second play, Stupid Cupid, ran to 4-star reviews at the 2018 Edinburgh, Brighton and Vancouver Fringe Festivals; and again at the 2019 Camden Fringe.