Sometimes I wake from a fitful sleep. I have the impression that you have been staring at me while I slept. I reach over to touch you, but you are gone for the day. On your pillow there is a piece of paper that looks like a note. I unfold it and read it. It says: The Chair.
There is a chair at the bottom of Botany Bay. It is embedded in a tub of concrete. Once, the remains of a mobster were tied to the chair. But they have been eaten, disintegrated, floated away in little pieces of bone and belt buckle and button. Is this the chair you’re talking about?
When Pancho Villa, riding with his army, would hear on the radio, El Presidente is seated on his chair, he thought it was a saddle. That is why, in that photograph of him seated, at last, in El Presidente’s chair, he looks a bit disappointed. Is this the chair you’re talking about?
In the first, exploratory stages of interrogation, unnamed employees of an unnamed government agency will ask you, politely, to please be seated in a chair. Is this the chair you’re talking about?
Once, a chair did not get packed into a moving truck. Or maybe it fell out of the moving truck. A beautiful woman found it and would sit on it while she played the cello. Later, the chair was stolen by a homeless man. Because it was an office chair, he was inspired to apply for a job. Because he already had an office chair, he made a favorable impression and was given the job and eventually rose to become Chairman of Operations. Is this the chair you’re talking about? A great chair is called a throne. The greatest of all chairs is called The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly. It was found in a stable. But it is only a facsimile of the throne upon which God is seated, which itself is a larger version of the throne upon which Jesus is seated. Is this the chair you’re talking about?
Sometimes when I am at work, sitting, not on a chair, but on an overturned five-gallon bucket, I bite into the sandwich you have made for me. I taste a piece of paper. I extract it from my mouth. I already know what it says, but I read it anyway.
Richard Garcia is the author of The Persistence of Objects, from BOA Editions. His poems have appeared in The Georgia Review, Crazyhorse, Ploughshares, Pushcart Prize XXI and Best American Poetry. His website is www.richardgarcia.info.