David Adès

Speaking Beyond Emptiness

One night, we took two chairs,
placed them in the middle of a room
facing each other.

                                                                   One after another,
                                                                   we sat in one chair, faced a chair
                                                                   left empty —

not for Elijah
or someone in the room watching,
but for our absent fathers,

                                                                   dead or alive.
                                                                   Dredging words, rusty as worn hinges,
                                                                   we spoke to the empty chair,

night holding, folding in on us,
we spoke to emptiness and beyond

                                                                   articulated longing, love,
                                                                   outpourings, untold stories,
                                                                   as if unfolding wings prior to flight;

we pulled away the blankets of grief
lying heavily upon us,
felt lightness come to our bodies,

                                                                   the vibrations of invisible bonds,
                                                                   and like this, unburdening ourselves,
                                                                   we made the night holy.

David Adès is an Australian poet currently living in Pittsburgh. He has been a member of Friendly Street Poets since 1979. His collection Mapping the World (Wakefield Press / Friendly Street Poets) was commended for the Anne Elder Award 2008. A chapbook, Only the Questions Are Eternal, is forthcoming from Garron Publishing. David’s poems have been widely published in Australia and the U.S. In 2014 he won the inaugural University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize.
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