Her seat was empty, unless
you take into account the smells of meals
he’d cooked her over the years:
vegetarian meatballs, three bean chilli,
chorizo and red onion on seeded toast;
the fingernail marks gripping
on to the arms during her son’s favourite
horror film; the decades old milk stains;
gossip stitched into the upholstery; grief
deep in the cushions. Her seat was empty
until it wasn’t.

© Carl Burkitt 2023

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