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Ode to Nothing

By Todd Osborne

When the thousand year floods became annual

and the Pacific birthed a hurricane to hang

over California for a day or two, when the heat

wave became a season, and no one

in power said anything about it because

what could they say? I stayed inside, counted

the consecutive days over 100 degrees, days with

nothing but humidity to cool us, cried about nothing,

for no reason. Why are you so mad today? asked

my students, and I said nothing. No words

for all these no-responses. I taught them

what I could: this world is still ours for as long

as it will have us. Doing nothing is a choice. Choose

to reach a hand; in all this nothing, make some kind of stand.


Todd Osborne is a poet and educator originally from Nashville, TN. His debut poetry collection, Gatherer, will be published by Belle Point Press in Spring 2024. His poems have previously appeared at The Missouri Review, Tar River Poetry, Cutbank, and EcoTheo Poetry Review. He is a feedback editor for Tinderbox Poetry Journal and a reader for Memorious. He lives and writes in Hattiesburg, MS, with his wife and their three cats: Patrina, Gwen, and Pizza Roll.


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