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Stairwell, Rio Road


ISSUE:  Fall 2005

Risk is the hair that holds the Tun
Seductive in the Air—

—Dickinson

First the red maples, gilt kudzu
    stropped and razed to bloody dust.
Then muddy flukes of gash and gravel

as all winter the doomed house held
    in a stranglehold of devouring dozers,
rigs, and wrecking balls,

sinuses of private hallways, boudoir,
    exposed as facades fell, then roof,
sleet slurring the skulled chapels of the attic;

joists, wallboard, tiled cavities of tub
    and basin all collapsing week by week.
But not this aortic staircase,

via negativa flanked by crimson panels,
    opening my chest each morning
as I drove past its futile climbing,

its bezeled taboo wound.
    My own houseless heart jolted,
recovering, and I’d grapple with the radio

as the windshield wipers ticked
    and whooshed, singing disappear,
appear, disappear,

appear, now a blotting slurry of ice
    and snowmelt; now clear.
Now gone; now still here.

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