Poem of the Month: Empty Chair by Terry Wolverton



for those who’ve walked on,

for those left behind



Thin brown jacket hangs from slant rail
in the garage, brings your absence
into my bones.  They ache; winter
looms, bleaching color from the days.

We learn stories about you we
never knew, or heard once, forgot:
Days on the beach in Mexico;
how you’d quick, stop the car to paint

a desert sunrise; that you came
to this country on a boat; left
behind your language, your dreams
how you wept the day your son died.

Or we listen once more to your
nerve-lit music, sing the lyrics
by heart.  We still recall the first
time those blue words broke us, healed us.

A piece of us follows you up
that long road; a piece stays behind.
The empty chair, so much larger
now, seen with our new eyes, rinsed clear.


Terry Wolverton is author of eleven books of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction, most recently Ruin Porn.  She is the founder of Writers At Work, a creative writing studio in Los Angeles, and Affiliate Faculty in the MFA Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles.

Yvonne M. Estrada is a Los Angeles-based poet and photographer.  She is the author of My Name on Top of Yours, a crown of sonnets with original photographs.  Her work has recently appeared in Talking Writing, Lit for Life, and Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes and Shifts of Los Angeles.

1 Comment

  1. This was beautifully paired. Thank you.


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