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A chair was never emptier than on the first Thanksgiving after my father died. For the first time, the grace had an echo careening from the canyon of the seat. Thanks for the final years of sobriety. Praise for the end of his suffering. But Lord, we’re not so grateful for the cancerous spot that was a pinprick on the balloon of his right lung. Our hands clasped— an emptiness between them, too. We tilted our necks down as if at a beheading. The empty seat was actually my old spot, and now I was at the head of the immense table.
BJ Ward’s books include Jackleg Opera: Collected Poems, 1990-2013 (North Atlantic Books, 2013).
Copyright 2020 BJ Ward