Halfway down the stairs is where I always stop.

Halfway up the stairs, I'll sit for a just a little while. I want to look out the window but I find I'm too out of breath. I can't catch it 'cause it's all gone.

I look down at my turned-in toes. Boots help keep me steady when I stand but they've a layer of dust on them at the moment. I stretch and sigh because I have these moments of clarity and I should know better.

When I finally do make it to the top, it's not a window at all but a painting, in an aged frame but perfect in detail. Secrets are never lost.

Breathless again, I have to keep my distance so I don't lose balance. My lips won't form words and I couldn't scream, even if I wanted.

And, I don't. Not really.

Words try and elude me so often that I'm tricked into believing they don't matter. And, do they?

No one ever asked me what I wanted but I couldn't have said so anyway.

If you think I'm wrong, I may be just like you. Even while I sit on the top stair with an eyeful of your creation, my nostrils fill with the ashes you left behind.

It makes me wonder what happened to your heart.

But, that's no way to live so I head right back down again in hopes of making it all the way out this time.

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