The Studio Chair

(after a painting by Sara Lee Roberts)

Take away the chair
and we’re left with abstraction,
an empty universe stripped
like Dawkins’ of the possibility
of transcendence;

the chair reassures us:
in a downstairs room, it says,
someone is playing the piano
or laying a table, writing a note,
and it’s only a matter of time

before these uprights curve
into the small of a human back;
there are noises-off –
voices from the street, perhaps,
or footsteps on the stairs –

and what we’re seeing
is just a pause in the action,
an abandoned prop
from the world of Post-It notes
and piano lessons, stranded

in a pool of light
from an unseen window,
as if the stillness concealed
some invisible presence
and sunshine itself were the sitter.