This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Tim Bete.
St. Dominic’s Patio Chair
I have spent hundreds of hours
praying in the blue patio chair
in my office—across from the bookcase
filled with rolls of duct tape and fishing
gear and a tub of spackling paste. Plastic
mesh pulled tight between powder-coated
metal arms and legs—arms just far enough
apart so my elbows don’t touch them
when my hands are folded in my lap.
Hands lie nestled one inside the other,
fingers never intertwined; bare feet
shifting back and forth on the carpet
like grazing animals, until they find
their perfect spot. Is it a paradox
to find my sweet Lord’s presence
in a place designed for drinking beer
between games of cornhole? I wonder
if the chair misses its compatriots, exiled
outside in the rain around the umbrella
table. Perhaps it is they who think
the indoor chair has been exiled.
St. Dominic surely would have included
my chair in his nine ways of prayer,
had he sat in it for only a few minutes—
inserting the chair sitting position between
standing erect with arms outstretched
and reaching towards heaven like an arrow.
When I get to Heaven and find
a place prepared for me, I hope
that place has a blue patio chair,
for there are times when I imagine
worshiping God for all eternity
sitting in this chair. And I hope
in Heaven, I meet St. Dominic
so he can try my chair and comment
how comfortable it is and how his
elbows don’t touch the arms, as I watch
his feet graze the floor before settling in.
But for today, the chair and the bookcase
and the rain outside are mine, as I sit
with the Lord, my soul resting
in a chair disposed to prayer.
Tim Bete is Poetry Editor for IntegratedCatholicLife.org. St. Dominic’s Patio Chair appeared in his poetry book, The Raw Stillness of Heaven.