Literally, "fear of empty space," a technique of design where the entire surface is covered with some sort of color or image. In Islamic art, it is thought that evil resides in such spaces. These artists tended to fill empty spaces with an arabesque pattern that consists of a curved floral series of lines.

It's curious the way emptiness can
harden, acquiring the form and function
of a shapely hole that follows you, dutiful,
as though the flare of longing had left
an afterburn at the edge of the retina,
just outside the range of focus.
Yet if you glance aside, it leads your gaze.

I'm curious, so I trail my fingertips
over the texture of a ripened
nothing. The sensation is lukewarm,
with none of the heat that travels skin to skin,
or the cool that fills a pause
between two goodbyes.

If you're curious, there's nothing to fear
from monsters that prowl the dark,
opal black horizons that suck up light,
or any other such low pressure terror.
Nothing is mere potential.

It's only that, sometimes, absence
can take on so much presence.

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