chairs

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“the chairs no one sits in”:*
as soon as I saw the lines, I thought,
“I was going to write that poem” —
once again, I’m reminded
what’s new to me is not new
most of my thoughts are
about as original as sin

perhaps it’s not about
who got there first, but getting
there: to a place where we sit
long enough for the ideas
to come up out of the lake
and join us on the porch,
or rest in our hearts

then I think of your story:
raising your hand in elementary school,
“where did God come from?”
you asked — and I wonder if
your teacher might have thought,
“why couldn’t she ask
about the empty chairs?”

Peace,
Milton

*from Horoscopes for the Dead: Poems by Billy Collins.

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