In this stairwell a man with a voice like a plastic zipper hunches over his things. He wears a way out. He wore a hospital bracelet. His face like the shut door to the roof.
In this stairwell I have my hands glued to the window panel, my lens trained on the snow it contains.
There is time, they say, and inside.
They say one woman rung the bell and all the island knew it was home. They say no human is a rock, a swatch of land, or a crop but can become any one of these things if left long enough in the proper mixture. They say the way out of the capitol is to climb until you hit the deposit you thought was the sun, your net worth measured in the distance between bars (rung) you’ve been climbing now for what feels like an insurmountable sum of moving hands – the ladder growing down as you peel through it. You can see the right side of everything.
In this stair the wells become dry and each memory of plaster gets sealed behind the eyes of the 9-volt battery jammed inside the chirping smoke detector. Hope is a thing with collapsible joints. Hope is a thing that expands into pleasure, its diameter immeasurable. That makes it a very large semi-circle, they say. Hope is a thing that’s strung to the weather, or hung from the roof. Look at the wall there like the side of the moon. It begs you to.
If you count the times in song the word moon arrives, you’ll be counting forever. This ladder lets us know there’s directness and directions and between them a way. The blood in all our pumping organs, the beats and beasts that can hold these rungs ask you to come out tonight – call you by name regardless of your hair color, your gender, or your collective shame.
When the police arrive to question us, we’ll be outside.