Stairways

September 18, 1996|By Colleen M. Webster

I. Fall

Your father sat you on the stairs,

banisters barring you from

the plunge down.

You were six

when he faced you, explained

love

marriage

loss

divorce.

And when he rose to go,

he left

you

high on those boards,

plummeting

through

training wheels,

braces,

Keds,

puddles,

report cards,

dating.

II. Hold

I remember hall oak steps

bearing our weight in late July,

two small sisters with grape mustaches, learning

Kool Aid swish from our father, our crew-cut

sharp-spined boss who lurched his body

to pronounce the belly gurgle we giggled

over, repeated, practiced in the humidity.

Outside the Orioles must have lost games,

teen-agers cut lawns, women hung laundry --

but we were enthralled at the knee

of one man who offered summer

sound to thirsty-takers.

Pub Date: 9/18/96

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