Writing an ‘aftermath’ poem

AFTER PAINTING THE CHAIR

It stood there simply
with its arching back and sinewy arms,
resting its four legs on
wrinkled and splattered sheets of newspaper
bearing what were now blotched accounts
of the ordinary lives of regular folks.

A container of black paint lay askew–
faint rivulets of color stains on it
where the pigment had bubbled over
reaching for a levelled ground.
Caked bristles of a paintbrush
rested on the rim–stiffening and drying out.

A new paint smell lingered in the air
faintly registered by a nose
now acclimated to its sombre presence,
leaching slowly
into the beads of sweat
rolling off my brow.

A curious silence pervaded
where for an hour
papers had rustled beneath my shifting weight
as I reached into the hidden crevasses of the chair,
the steady brushstroke sound wiping out
the grating blemishes smoothened out by gritty sandpaper.

I stood admiring my diligence in
staying out of bounds of the
intricate latticework of strings
that formed the back and seat of the chair–
this vestibule that had once borne the weight
of a Grandfather I had never known.

My hands still felt the tremors
of hypnotic repetition–
dip, squeeze, stroke
dip, squeeze, stroke–
the trance of steady movement
of being lost in the service of painting.

It was but yesterday
or many years back into childhood
that I am reminded of this moment–
the day I met afresh and
not just in my thoughts
the chair that Grandfather once sat upon.


*This is a poem I wrote recently in response to a writing prompt in a class that I am currently taking.

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