l’appel du vide: A poem

Photo of a sunset over the ocean
Anusha Subramanian/Courtesy

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It’s like reaching up with your fingers

And scratching the sky with your nails.

Garish gashes of fiery orange 

Soak through — 

Is that heaven or is it hell? 


To tether at the edge

Of the known world 

With the colors of the sunset 

Soaking into your soul — 

It’s like Woolf says, 

“Today I’m in the mood

To dissolve into the sky” 


The void calls to me, 

In the gentlest of melodies. 

It’s different from the temptation I expected

Serenading me into a leap of faith.

It’s almost as if 

I’d willingly untie my tether. 


Curiosity mingling with mirth

in the palette of emotions. 

Are we really made 

From the skin and bones 

Of the broken stars?

That I can almost touch,

If I give in to the call

And blend with the void. 


Are we really made 

From the same atoms?

That course through the veins 

Of iridescent rainbows, 

Thrown from the sprays 

Of the tides below. 


Are we really

A sum total of our thoughts? 

Or are our thoughts

a summary 

Of our lifetimes? 

A “tl;dr” of every sunset.

That turns us philosopher 

And brings us closer 

To accepting the inevitable: 

l’appel du vide. 


Contact Anusha Subramanian at [email protected]