The Fourth Chair

My sister left us, two months shy of nine,
and I became the brother of a ghost
who’d haunt our table when we’d sit to dine.
My mother, fragile, felt her haunts the most.

For two months, every night, we’d sit right there
and brace for her to pause – to stop mid-word,
then slowly turn to face her empty chair,
and we’d look down as if her sobs weren’t heard.

One Saturday, my father went to town,
went to its finest shop (no, we weren’t poor)
and brought a brand new table that was round,
purposely left the fourth chair in the store.

When Mother saw it, she began to sway.
That was the day my Mother went away.

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