Child’s chair: sole survivor among
things touched by my grandmother.
The bent ash, soaked and rounded,
gleams where a girl’s muslin dress
once rubbed. Scratches, where buttonhooked
shoes scuffed. Patina darkened to blood
mahagony, sweat silted into every divot.
The husband lost to German cavalry.
The daughter and two sons handed over
to strangers. The starting over.
How did it feel to watch my mother,
late child of a second marriage, run
her dimpled hand over the same ashwood
or tilt back on two legs and stress the frame?
To see the seat canes breached, re-woven.
Such fights, such marmalades and moths
this chair has weathered, yet it promenades
still, with a subtle bend in the foot,
plaiting light by my workroom window.
Published in Valparaiso Poetry Review
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