Climbs the spiraling stair
                     She passes me on my way down
           I know my death will follow
When she climbs the stair
            Next time

                        So I say goodbye—to everyone and everything
            Preparing for eternal departure
“Are you ready yet?” they ask,
            Peering over the railing,
                        Looking down on me like always

           And let me go without a fight

Celebrating at the top and bottom stair, blocking me in—
           Family and friends
                      As though I had already gone
           Or never before come

On the table of the landing I find
The letter
From One I knew long ago, so old
The page wrinkled and torn
I remember that I love him


Premonition climbs the stair again
           I see her—thump —beauty circling upward
           Taste her stench—thump —hear her footsteps

Racing up the stair, pushing past apathetic lovers
           Down the hall, letter in had
           Thump —searching for his door:
           knock and knock

Final thump

Premonition passes me at his door
           I know my death will follow when she
                     Passes me the
                                 Next time

Written in 2000

Photo Credit: Johannes Plenio

To help inspire young writers during National Poetry Month, I committed to posting a poem each day. This one was written during Mrs. Shelton’s Creative Writing class my senior year. It was kind of the high school experience. For every poem idea, we had to move our piece through ten drafts before final publication. She’d meet with us during the drafting process if we needed suggestions, but the idea was that each word should be carefully chosen, each line artfully arranged. The original title was The Third Dimension, and though I don’t recall why I changed it, I have Mrs. Shelton’s hand-written notes on the tenth draft affirming its transformation from first to final edit. The new skill I tried with this poem was using indentations and line breaks together to achieve a visual effect, like a spiraling staircase.

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