Joy Katz

A desk chair

Solicitous of its own business. Not chewable, and never mordant.
How to say a chair as I would say a hand? One looks out
from the brows: wooden, unaltering.
Perhaps a chair is more important.
Perhaps you cannot have a sentence without a chair,
more pepper than salt, more voilà. Perhaps in life
one does not discover a chair enough—its cruelty and trousers—

There is no delightfulness in desk chair except the name,
simple as a line of dancers: full of bone.
Is a chair modestly a container?
No—a turnstile, an airplane wing.

You can count on the trolley wheeled for tea, you can count
on railroad-bridges, on cut celery.
You can count on the flatness of bateau,
on all that is not the flesh, such as a deck of cards.

The boxes all fit one inside the next; the cutlery is put away,
sturdy to push on as bike-pedals. All this belongs to the chair,
and a berm awash with tide-all things at rest,
not panicked or insane—
as if the heavy telephones were back.

(from The Garden Room)

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