They’re plain and padded, others
their backs high, proud, and embroidered,
arms polished, curved, and ending in scrollwork
limbs that have decided to close their hands.
They are placed on the sides of sofas and long tables
as if guarding them from the wrong type of occupant.
more monastic are placed in corners or next to doors
to keep a watchful eye on matters of state.
Sometimes they are twins poised on either side of a marble table
a bright lamp of bronze illuminating dark, cold veins.
They are quiet citizens of wide halls and palaces where,
despite the traffic, heavy or light, no one ever sits.
of these four-legged guards, invisible to most,
are always empty, lovers waiting to spoon or, more likely,
are civil servants waiting to provide comfort
the weary and downtrodden, those who find the journey
too oppressive on any given day.
They embody patience, for they wait and wait,
empty as they wait.
It is likely that once a year, almost certainly after midnight,
they gather in a great metaphysical hall
has no beginning and no end.
It is a conclave of silence during which they meditate
on the comings and goings of the world,
and praying that people, no one in particular,
will pause for a while and think of nothing but chairs,
will stop moving from here to there,
if they did, the masses would lay down their arms,
would cry cathartic rivers and find balm
for the soul’s deep wounds and its lifetime of wear.