Empty Chairs

By Liu Xia
Translated by Jennifer Stern and Ming Di
Empty empty empty
so many empty chairs
everywhere. They look
charming in van Gogh’s paintings.

I quietly sit on them
and try to rock
but they don’t move —
they are frozen
by what’s breathing inside them.

Van Gogh waves his paintbrush —
leave leave leave
there’s no funeral tonight.

He looks straight through me,
and I sit down
in the flames of   his sunflower
like a piece of clay to be fired.
 
Translated from the Chinese

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