Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Chair

When one day turned to three months turned to what,
with just enough assurance, he could think of as “the past” –
that is, since he’d last seen his dad – he decided
he could dare now to go back and see the chair; return
to where it still resided in his father’s study: the chair in which

his dad had sat so long and often over decades that
its sturdy curves of oak seemed to have learned to wear him
like a stalwart skeleton might hold up and sustain a lumpen
mass of fat – the chair in which when he walked in
to undergo another cold interrogation, now, that afternoon,

displayed a large old man slumped over, dead. He wanted
to do one thing with and in it: sit, not as his obese dad had
had to do, pillowed into, plumping out of openings, straight back,
so that the only view was straight-ahead. No, the son knew
it was time to see if what his cherished bard Miss Dickinson

had written possibly could be: was there an angle he could find
to see, to say what is, to know? The chair was where
he had the chance all but to prove it. He turned the key:
his father’s house now open to the air, he walked into the study
to the chair and sat, and slipped his limbs obliquely in.

He felt a breath, the faint sense bloom that life – his father’s life –
at last unlocked a little. The room revealed itself as open circle,
not a box. And what he saw he almost could express: the light.
Miss Dickinson (the little fox!) was right. Success? Oh yes!
Here was the proof of her he’d hoped the chair would grant.

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —


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