A Short Good Life

The Sofa

it is time to replace the sofa
our embarrassing sofa
our guest gave the final signal
toying with the frayed fabric
mindlessly enlarging the hole
through which the wooden frame
which should never be seen
could be seen
and that was after he moved over
from the seat where he sank
too low down to be comfortable
intuiting what we know
of the spring
that has broken through the bottom
and now pushes into the floor
this is the original sofa on which she sat
on which she slept on which
she played the bakery games the tickling games
the drive away on vacation games
this is the merry sofa on which she jumped
while singing the silly birthday songs
(that we looked like a monkey
and we smelled like one too)
this is the charmed sofa on which she sat us
to perform with her sister
The Show—
whatever that week’s show might be
skits or jokes, dances or tricks
by the pair of little hams
this is the same solid sofa on which she sat rooted
taking pills of all sorts
having blood infused or removed
having creams rubbed in
having deep muscle massage or the lightest tickling
from which she cried in agony
and on which she slept
lost in narcotic
too deep for too long
this is the safe sofa that was her base
from which to face her dwindling days
from which to declare her love and say goodbye
it is the soiled sofa
on which she wheezed and puked
and breathed her last
it is the hated place
where we sat with her
when she was dead
and sat by her
when she was still
until they came and bagged her body
and now
it is the dreadful vacated sofa
where on those she trusted
she leaned heavily
and where when I sit
when I lie back
I feel her

I imagine her finding out about
the new sofa—a sumptuous gorgeous cobalt blue
I can almost hear the quick patter of her feet
dashing down the hall
to celebrate
I can hear her squeal of joy
as she flings herself and flies
into its cushions
the Ultrasuede texture
the smell of its newness
the color she knows why we chose

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