2,753 empty chairs
not a breath of air
yards & lots
There is no human figure or voice in the haiku, whose Ls 2&3 are separated by two blank lines.
The first two lines refer to a sea of empty seats, 2,753 in all, flooding the lawn of Bryant Park in surging waves of loss and grief on Friday, September 9, 2011, two days before the 10th Anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. This unforgettably poignant exhibition used one empty chair to represent one 9/11 victim at the World Trade Center, and 35 rows of empty chairs completely covering the lawn faced south towards the fallen Twin Towers. The third line in the poem painfully evokes a persistent absence, indicating that this haunting exhibit was a visual reminder of the loss. Galmitz’s thematically effective use of blank space adds emotional weight and psychological depth to the poem.