The stairs were not there.

Instead, opaque white plastic sheeting and orange cones

consumed the crumbling concrete with the warning of new steps to navigate

when the concrete dried and the caution of tape was soothed to safety.

But now no cautious step could stop me when I set my instep on the railing,

heaved my weight too quickly, handrail slip and buckle.

The certain knowledge that, yes, this is how

infinity above me and then the impact,

swift turning of the world from known

to the spreading bruises no one could see.

The mark was nowhere.

The shower ached the slow, dull heat from my skin,

no hope of knowing what part of me had struck the earth like an insult—

perhaps I had escaped unscathed. Look down.

Mottled red and purple rotten roses, ash-grey stains.

Where the moth must have dropped his remains in the loam,

and my skin kissed it for forgiveness, kept its color.

Lying in the remains of lost leaves, I leave my blood within me.

But it has come to the surface, spilled without a splash.

This is what would sustain me if I had nothing save my veins.

They have broken in my own flesh, from my own folly.

© 2016 Anna-Christina Betekhtin, All Rights Reserved.

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