The Best Chairs

By F.J. Williams

Tugged out of true until the stitches burst,
the chairs we kept for pub talk:
the Blair wars, our young friends
debunking freedom’s many enemies
that plonked themselves in every argument.
What thoughts we had in armchairs in the night.

We wriggled till the horsehair came adrift,
a fire risk no-one had the heart to dump
but saggy by the time the Wall fell down.
and DNA turned out to be the soul.
We found the worst way to acquire our stuff,
inheritance, time’s chromosome.

These chairs, coming down to us for years,
one death, another, room to room,
the smell of fresh paint in the dark,
ecology, novels, Mongolian
overtone chanting, sky mums,
the scuffs and stains that make up memory.

Our son pitched each chair upside down to learn
commando skills, a ski run, a bunker
against the Blast in upholstery foam,
listening for the warning crash, thunderclap
then black. What’s freedom anyway,
ringing on the door till the bell-wire burns?

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