in that house the honey-colored pinewood staircase
with beautiful balusters led up to an unfinished

attic remember bringing a tray of strong sugared
coffee the carpenters working overtime to seal off

the eaves before a storm and they yelled don’t step
on anything but the beams you too late trying to balance

the tray surprise one foot going through a square panel
not meant to bear any weight one little gash on your thigh

after all these years you’re still re-drawing the cloudy
maps that formed across the ceiling you also remember

afternoons learning to separate yolks from whites failing
at beating until no longer runny until at last an orange

chiffon cake baked in a pyrex pot with a spout on its lip
not a cake dish but something to make chowder in maybe

or chicken stew except it was the only thing you owned
that could go into the high heat of the oven everything

you learned you learned from mostly improvising but then
money ran out and the stairs led to empty space yellow

light filtered through dust motes one summer a nest distinct
sounds of the just fledged and how they brought to mind

the word springing did you know in church architecture
it means the point where an arch leaves the pillar or wall

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