I took those stairs every day
and used my imagination.
they stretched up and over like an iron hilltop
above pits of trash and fragile patches of grass,
abandoned train tracks, the weathered graveled path
in a silent part of New York City.
What was I to do when this was the quickest way home
so I marched up and down every day
and held my breath for no reason because most days I was safe.
Most days I was safe except
when I wasn’t.
I knew these things happened in daylight
Every day I would imagine
new ways for it to happen
then I’d reach the other end
and forget all about it.
I’d forget all about it
and resume my breathing
until the Once
when I just couldn’t.
I could barely think a thought,
my imagination had turned off,
I saw, the images were there
but they were strung together wrong.
And before my mind woke up,
my body bathing in sunlight,
I felt a stab of sweet relief-
how could this ever happen twice?