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THE STAIRWELL



Thomas Leonard

Maryland, United States

There is little air

between levels,

little sight beyond the light

bounding living space,

a flight of possibilities

fallen like sky shards

deep in this crevasse to lie.

Low ebb about the ankles

the potentials have melted,

all that could have been

washes out like driftwood –

beautiful, blanched, airy

lovely to glance at, then toss

back into the rising froth.

The way up appears locked:

cold-painted cinderblock and

steel doors apprehend

hands reaching dark walls

to find clammy guardrails

ringing with others’ thoughts:

“Make do with what you have.”

Above the flotsam haze

somewhere rises

a boy swimming in

untrammeled air

lifting ages past

from a narrow well

in long upward drafts.


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