Empty Chair

By Christine Degenaars

There’s a darkness in his dimples, now,
that wasn’t there before. It seems to sprout
from his crevices and crawl across his face
like something I don’t want to get my hands on.
At the kitchen table, it looks like a potato’s eye

and I imagine it smells like fungus
or mildew or bread mold.
I won’t touch it. It moves when
he asks me to pass the boat and when
he tells me what the railroad men

have been saying about the hail. Guzzling gravy,
he splatters it and it fills in his darkness
like grave soil. I ask him why
he wants me to meet these men
who I have met before and he says it’s to heal me;

that they would unpack my soul from the aluminum foil
he says I wrapped it in for safekeeping. Jackson carries
a darkness in his dimples that he never had before.
At night, I can sometimes catch it, staring at me,
one black eye, cold as railroad metal.


Christine Degenaars has had work published in several Boston College affiliated magazines, including Stylus, Laughing Medusa, and The Medical Humanities Journal of Boston College. Outside of Boston College, she has had work published in Hermeneutic Chaos and in Plain China: Best Undergraduate Writing. She also has forthcoming pieces in Red Paint Hill Publishing, The Magnolia Review, and Hypertrophic Literary. She has been the recipient of two Bishop-Kelleher Awards and was an honorable mention for the Bennington Award.