When I Am Empty

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When I am empty I think about you
staring back at me in the pouring rain—
the family picnic in the Upper Peninsula,

my grape pop spilling down the sides of the table,
an empty bottle, your lips turned into a smirk,
your eyes glinting, you in that moment loving me.

I’m empty on the edge of one big happy family,
pouring into one another in the pouring rain,
pop bottles slipping out of our hands, Faygo grape running into ground.

When I am empty, I see the way you saw me then.
After I lost you, I taped the photo Dad took of this scene,
our pouring picnic, on the inside of my high school locker

so whenever I was empty, I could run down cold concrete stairs
to unlock that look, to discover once again
your unfailing presence, your knowing gaze.

Pittsburgh Quarterly is now accepting submissions for its online poetry feature. PQ Poem is seeking poetry from local, national and international poets that highlight a strong voice and good use of imagery, among other criteria. To have your work featured, send up to three previously unpublished poems in Word or PDF format as well as a brief bio to

Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but if work is accepted elsewhere, please alert us.

Anne Rashid

Anne M. Rashid is an associate professor of English and director of Women’s & Gender Studies at Carlow University in Pittsburgh, PA. She has published poetry in Adagio Verse Quarterly, Lit Candles: Feminist Mentoring and the Text, The Metro Times, Pittsburgh’s City Paper, Forum, Paterson Literary Review and Broad River Review.

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