page 20 of 134 of Tender Buttons

A Chair

I see an old woman, dressed in mourning black, sitting in a chair next to the bed of a dead or dying loved one. Perhaps “the sign” is crossing herself and the necessary betrayal is that she will continue living. Is hope a prayer, is prayer a spectacle? Is the barn the church, does the dirt refer to the cemetery where they will be buried? Is there no special protection for death?