The Lilac x The Student: “Nothing Entire”

The inaugural edition of The Lilac x The Student, brought to you by The Poetry Club and the Arts & Living section, features “Nothing Entire,” a poem by Joe Sweeney ’25.

The Lilac x The Student: “Nothing Entire”
“Nothing Entire” bears witness to an interpersonal conflict as viewed by an onlooker. Original art by Shayna Klainberg ’25.

I watched that man spit in her eye.

He didn’t mean to — it was for her

nose, and her mouth, and her

left cheek. She knew even this.

She fingered her ring, which was

embossed with an

“A,” and beneath it — above the

second digit’s knuckle, amid

its dry parchment calluses — was ink

stained black in the shape of an “S.”

Slipping it from her finger she traced

the ring along the blunt ending curve,

like an olive fly upon a river which is

pitch and airless and dark.

She dropped the ring, and — in

the silence that was my distance —

her finger rose to the eye. And I

thought of all rivers vanishing

at their ends as the dark loses

care, and that she might

annihilate all ending (with a touch, in

a silver circular memory silence) with this

dropping she had been given. But then, as

the finger met her eye — she rubbed it in


    and so in nothing entire

could it be drowned.

And that man had come back to watch,

and he was sorry.