Kitchen Chairs

Kitchen Chairs

by Judi Schepka

the legs on my kitchen chairs, bought on sale from
not-so-fabulous goldsteins furniture outlet
are beginning to crack under the pressure of too many
burdens plopped down by a dysfunctional family

troubled minds and angry souls venting in the heart
of the house where we all gather on my mother’s birthday,
christmas eve, or in times of a crisis, but never for dinner
anymore… anyway i wonder if that’s how you felt at the end

like the legs on my kitchen chairs
unstable breaking coming unhinged.
i never would have guessed you were losing ground
giving up the battle perhaps afraid you’d never win the war.

yet the last time i saw you sitting on one of my kitchen chairs,
you joked about your past mistakes, your fucked-up marriage,
and your drunk-and-stoned years after high school after
our best-friend days – but before you found jesus

or he found you desperate for salvation. where was he
i’d like to know that sullen april night when you decided
you had enough of what life couldn’t offer and alcohol
couldn’t dull? did he guide your hand as you signed your

bed-time notes – instructions for the living on how to handle
your dying a week later in a coma. did he whisper in your hair
“come with me I will make you whole ”
as you swallowed life’s regrets with a swing of warm beer

that left you cold… or did you leave him a note too?

Judi attended YSU late in life, and received her BA in English in 1999 at the age of 46 while dealing with third-stage colon cancer. She received her MA in English in 2001, and her MS in Criminal Justice in 2004. She was awarded the Robert R. Hare Award for a small chapbook, the Robert R. Hare Award for Best Journalism Writing, Poem of the Year 2000 in the Penguin Review, and numerous poems published in the Penguin Review from 1995 to 2001.

Back to Issue 003: Jenny Magazine

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