The Chair


The chair is waiting.
There is a label taped to it
Which should bare your name
But instead is blank.

The chair could be electric.
You won’t know until you sit in it.
Then, if it is, you’ll light up like a three hundred watt bulb
You’ll glow, incandescent, as if lit from within.

The others at the table are waiting for you to take your place.

Take a seat, they say
Won’t you grace us with your presence.
Nothing will happen if you sit.
The chair is harmless.
It’s not wired up to anything.

Fear grips your skull –
What if, in taking your place
You are electrocuted, fried?

You don’t trust anyone,
so you hover near the door,
and miss
the grand dinner
that everybody else enjoys
the finest of banquets
the trout, the champagne, the chocolate truffles
you leave starving.

At home, you stuff your face with pasta
and wonder what would have happened

had you taken a seat.

Laura Solomon was born in New Zealand. She has an honours degree in English Literature (Victoria University, NZ, 1997) and she has published two novels in New Zealand Black Light (1996) and Nothing Lasting (1997) both from Tandem Press. Her first play, The Dummy Bride, was produced as part of the Wellington Fringe Festival, and her second, based on her short story, Sprout, was part of the 2004 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Short stories published in the UK include: Sprout (2004 Bridport International Short Story competition anthology), The Most Ordinary Man in the World (2005 Bridport International Short Story competition anthology), Alternative Medicine, (Willesden Herald International Short Story competition, 2007) and The Killing Jar, (The Edinburgh Review, August 2007). Her poem ‘The Latest Lighthouse Keeper’ was commended in the Ware Poets Competition, 2007. She has a short story collection Alternative Medicine (Flame Books, UK, 2008). Her poem ‘You Will Know When You Leave’ was shortlisted in the Bridport 2008 Poetry competition. Her poem ‘Apocryphal’ was a runner up in the Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition. Her novel An Imitation of Life is forthcoming (Solidus, UK, 2010).