This Old Chair

Editor Janet Buck, poetry 0 Comments

We divided your stuff
on the tail of black limos
creeping the ragged streets.
My sister took the pretty towels —
the ones that said:
“Don’t touch, I stain;
Don’t fold, I tear.
Don’t use, I bite.”

All that was left was the lump of a chair
that cradled the crumbling straw.
From here, you argued with walls,
with a god you couldn’t see
but chose to trust no differently
than ducks fly south
imbued with promises of warmth.
An afghan draped across the back
to cover holes your spine had rubbed.

From here, you flipped like a caught trout
in the moon’s gray pail.
Watched as the rainfall bled
on fuzzy portraits of glass.
Listened as the furnace chirped
its bird-like morning arias.
From here, you grabbed an apron string
as love would jet from room to room.
Lit your pipe, gushed about her homemade pies.
Marked her lips with syrup spittle,
afterglow of Sunday waffles on the porch.

This old thing Grandma called
a wart on nice, an albatross of tackiness,
a dog to shoot, a rock to lift —
but never moved and dusted
like a precious mink in closets of the very rich.
Dimes between the cushion cracks.
Songs of sweat on beaten arms.
I had to keep this monument.
All your craters, all your perils,
all your Hells had settled here.

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