The House With No Chairs
Natalie Louise Tombasco
When first moving in together, the couple
was too poor for chairs; not a plastic sofa,
a fainting couch, or a stool could be found
in the entire house. Ah, the house, it was
charming, for sure—in a plain-yellow,
sky-blue sort of way. But the windows
were dark, the inside was childless, fishbowl-
less—no Saint Bernard cleaning its paws.
Just clutter: secondhand lamps, old books,
some knickknacks to fill the space.
They took a liking to standing;
pinky promised to never sit again, for sitting
was only an in-between state; a break
in a straight line. Each morning began with
standing at the kitchen sink, staring blankly
into bowls of soft-boiled eggs. Each evening
ended with lightly pressing themselves against
the mattress which was strapped to the wall.
There was a comfort in always being upright,
a strength in their oath, a half-inch growth
in their spines like oak trees with initials
& angular hearts etched into the bark.
When they had company, they told guests
it was a B.Y.O.C. When his parents insisted
on buying some chairs, any chairs he desired--
they said it would “mess with the feng shui.”
They thought their feet were becoming flatter,
rooted into the floorboards, but truthfully,
some days he would close his eyes & feel himself
drifting in the wind. She would saunter through
the neighborhood with all her curvatures
& hollowness, tired & sick of standing.
She would walk somewhere between the empty
porch & hysterical moon, then find her way back
to him, watching the 10 o’clock news on mute.
She’d turn on the shower and he’d imagine
her cheating—her wilted body curled up near
the drain, rubbing the tingle from her heels.
On the other side of the wall, she imagined him,
too. His timber thud into their cold bed, echoed:
dead love, dead love--but in reality, they both
had their backs to the wall, still standing.
About the Author: Natalie Louise Tombasco is a current MFA candidate at Butler University in Indianapolis, IN, where she is a reader for Booth: A Journal. She has been published in Poydras Review and the minnesota review. Tombasco is from Staten Island, NY.