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Landing

She could never cross that landing
At the top of the shoe-worn stairs
Without the past coming for her,
Gripping her arms painfully.
Sad truths she should never have known
Sprang from depressions in plaster
And hurled brutally against it.
Her son drawing himself from his room,
Seeing that man, red and sweating,
His knuckles white and unrelenting,
He had expected to feel fear,
Even greater than the fear that had held him
Trapped behind his own door
For so many years of night.
But he saw something now
He hadn't seen before;
He saw how small his father was,
How much bigger he himself had grown,
And seeing this made him bigger still.
Before she could voice the terror
Of what he might also become,
Her husband was staggering down the stairs,
Just catching himself on the banister.
And looking up, panting, trembling,
He saw his son
As he had never seen him before.
He saw how big he had grown.
He saw something else as well,
And it was this that stopped him from raging
Back up the edge-worn stairs.
Seeing the man on the landing
Hovering over him like a warrior angel
Telling him it was ended,
He saw himself and turned,

And never climbed those stairs again.

Comments

Susannah said…
this is an incredibly powerful poem - thank you for sharing it with us
Sx
Anonymous said…
Another epic this week. A whole story. Crunched magnificently.
Bice Sagan said…
A lot of young men have found themselves on that same landing. Gripping read!
Excellent - dramatic and thought provoking.

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