Trilogy: The Empty Chair
By Dyan Sandeferg

I. Passing

My brother's passing
left an empty chair
at family gatherings.

He was boisterous
and funny,
the baby, who could not whisper,
and had no use for discretion,
a big teddy bear of a man.

One day at Animal Control,
surrounded by the smell of death,
while I listened as his buddy
told me what a good friend
my brother was,
his memory slipped up
like a playful toddler
and tapped me on the shoulder.
I turned,
wishing he were there,
knowing he was not.
I cried all the way home.

II. Firsts

It's Thanksgiving now
and I think of all the people
who face empty chairs
at their dinner tables.

After the dead are gone,
there are so many firsts:
Birthday. Easter. Christmas.
First time you reach
for the phone, only to realize
the lines don't reach
all the way to eternity.

III. Traditions

There were these cookies
we used to make.
My brother loved them dearly.
For a long while
after his passing,
it seemed a sacrilege
to make those cookies.
How could we enjoy the cookies
and ignore his empty chair?
But now I savor the cookies
and celebrate his life,
grateful for pleasant memories.

And the chair
no longer seems
so empty.


Dyan Sandefer lives in Southwest La. with her husband, three children, and an odd assortment of neutered animals, where she struggles to write poetry about the deeper things of life, sometimes seen with a slightly skew-eyed glance. Due to her reluctance to experience rejection, she has only recently begun to actually share her poetry with the unsuspecting world. She does have several poems slated to appear in PoetryRepairShop and a couple of people who are confident in her abilities to write meaningful poetry.


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