the stair up from

the basement bar where i’m wont

to prop myself up for a nightcap

is only ten steps tall


this night i’ve capped with more than my usual

share of bottle belts


i mount the stair, hauling on the rail


four steps up, i fall

gasping, sagging to my knees

as my heart

my heart!



next i know, i’m climbing fine

springingly up, but the stair has changed

it’s longer by far, carpeted, curved

curiously i continue


reaching the top, i find myself in a long, dim hall of doors

one door after another, upon each affixed a portrait

the first of which is my own

the second, my father

the third, his father

like so


my door, like all the others, is closed

and i, dubious of what awaits,

bend to peer beneath the knob


they keyhole blinds my eye

so i open wide the door

and once i’ve stumbled in

i don’t need

to see