The Old Yard Sale Rocking Chair Takes up Residence in My Home Office

To be honest, the chair overwhelms the space. Still,

I make room for it the way you make an extra place

when a friend drops in at dinnertime. There was a time

when the seat was less worn, when the joints on its swayed

arms did not threaten to pull apart. There was a time

when the profusion of emerald flowers against midnight grain

shimmered as a fabric I’d just chosen, when the newly stuffed seat

was fuller (though the way it holds me, balancing on clawed feet

riding atop runners is better now).

Before that, it was nothing but skeleton–sturdy, woody,

sweeping curves coated with aged veneer, blackened,

curdled, rough to the touch. Its seat, a square of emptiness.

How did I fit it into the hatchback Hyundai, anticipating your

question: "where do you plan to put that?"

There was a time when we packed up the still-broken beast,

carried it cross-country, shoehorned it into 600 square feet.

No room anymore for things without purpose. There was a time

when I was so nauseous from making a human, when you studied

the steps to revive the chair–strip layer after layer to reveal its wood,

sand until it smoothed like a worn sheet. Stain and polish,

your shoulders aching from weeks of late nights.

There was a time when I sank into the chair’s arms,

exhausted, our child unsettled by night terrors,

his head on my chest, ragged breaths catching.

I rocked him and rocked him, chair thrumming in time,

our breaths slowly slowing and drifting toward sleep.

Patricia Davis-Muffett
(she/her) holds an MFA from the University of Minnesota. Her chapbook, Alchemy of Yeast and Tears, was published in March 2023. Her work has won numerous honors including Best of the Net 2022 nomination, inclusion in Best New Poets 2022, and second place in the 2022 Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest, and has appeared in Atlanta Review, Pretty Owl Poetry, Calyx and Comstock Review, among others. She lives in Rockville, Maryland, with her family.