07 March 2011


the staircase of the old house groaned when the elderly inhabitant passed
over its threadbare carpet smelling of lemon juice and licorice sticks
it watched her feet as it always did
her toes now trembling in her blue slippers the way they
wobbled tiny and pink with a baby's first steps or when
she broke three metatarsals in her foot 
her usual dancer's step fractured 
like the panes of a Tiffany stained glass window
her footstep pattern sunk into each stair
the grooves of her grip on the banister 
marked time more accurately than than the tree rings
of the giant redwood 
sanded after being stripped after being carried out
after being hacked down in the forest
that the staircase can no longer even vaguely recall
its only memories are not its own
the stickiness of childhood tears 
now a mere occasional creak
the swish of a companion footfall 
now faded to a whiff of salt and antiseptics
and when the aged slipper stops teetering along the ridges of its spine
the staircase will wait 
for the scents buried in the wood to hush
with the neighborhood's renovation and gentrification
the staircase will cling to its memories but will forget
a little more of its life with each passing year
until it is redefined by gleaming metal teeth 
and machines in a factory that have now replaced the men
whose hands first gave the wood its meaning 
perhaps those men would have thought twice
if they had known the loneliness of living forever


the walking man said...

Interesting Chris, nice use of the inanimate to make a point. I particularly liked the final four lines...would we have automated life to such a degree if we had known?

Chris said...

thanks, i'm glad you like it :)