Grandfather's Chair

by Janet I. Buck

Children have taken the cache,
divided the china
plate by plate, cup by cup.
Here is the room where you
slept away your midnight fights,
dreamt of her flannel paving your skin.
Gazed at the window and yearned.
Only an armchair remains.
It knows you in ways I don't.
Thorns of your spine,
the smell of your pipe.
Blossoms of dandruff and oil.
Sawdust and hate no one could see.

It carries the gist of the curve,
the weight of the sag.
Stuffing of polluted songs.
Birdseed specks and cinnamon crumbs.
The creak of your knees
succumbing to rust.
Newsprint and black ink lies
mixed with tea stains,
bourbon beads you snuck
and sipped when backs were turned.

The pillows of Grammy's hands
salving the hours ticking toward graves.
A crochet hook between
the cushion's patulous seams.
She must have been poised on your lap.
Forgotten her work, made you her yarn,
skipped a stitch, gone for touch.
Under the cushion sit four worn squares
from Scrabble games:
vole, elvo, ovel -- hmmm --
guess again, says memory.

©2002 by Janet I. Buck

Janet I. Buck is a three-time Pushcart nominee and the author of four collections of poetry. Her newest collection, Ash Tattoos, on the terrorist attacks and the aftermath of war, is available from The ZeBook Company, for (get this) 69 cents. In 2002, Buck's work is scheduled to appear in The Pedestal Magazine, The Montserrat Review, Thunder Sandwich, Red River, and dozens of journals world-wide. See more of her work at her website.

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