19 August 2012

Sunday Sonnet: Charles Descending a Staircase

Sunday morning. The elevator is
not functioning. There’s a punctual man
on the landing. With both of his frail hands
on one railing, he begins to descend

the long staircase. Sliding hand to hand but
not crossing them, and foot to foot before
dropping one daringly over the edge
of each box step. Charles in crimson slippers,
with dancer’s hands on diagonal barre,
our very own Nureyev at ninety-four.

The pall bearers pass the casket into
the idling hearse, the long mahogany
handles smoothly through their white-gloved hands.
But that’s another mourning,
another landing.
In spite of the power outage, Charles was determined to get to the church service on the first floor - and he was determined to get there on time.

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