The Stairs

The end bell rings, and school is dismissed
but to rush home quick is a thing I’d resist.
The walk back is quiet, which makes all the sense
as my only companion is silence.
For me, Three o’clock came quickly enough
but it’s clear that the rest of today will be rough.
The hours still left in the day may be long
as I wonder how everything right went so wrong.

Those tall stairs rise so high.
From here, they all but blot out the sky.
Well, of course they do; I’m here inside
but in these stark halls, there is no place to hide.

I’ll offer some story so cleverly spun
that tells inexactly what wasn’t quite done
and doctors the truth just enough so, perhaps,
when they hear it, my ass won’t be beaten to craps.
If I hold my nerve and the narrative’s controlled,
the weak won’t win. Fortune favors the bold.
“I can explain,” surely, I can exclaim
but after, will they ever see me the same?

As I climb these stairs,
my calves and thighs in their pairs
all feel incredibly, shakily impaired
as I prepare to enter the dreaded lion’s lair.

The news that I carry is scary, it’s true.
This package, rather un-delivered, is due.
If there’s something I could occupy, and then rue,
it’s that not to have to tell this thing to those two.

But those goddamned stairs look so big.
When I left they were hardly so ig-
nominiously large.
This morning I practically barged
out the door charging to school
now I feel like a fool
coming home with this shame
upon my home’s name
soon the family will know
what I did at the show
when we went on the bus
and I started to cuss
and the teacher got mad
because I’d been bad
and goddamn I’m so sad…
my dad will not be glad

and these stairs
are so

About Jonathan Berger

I used to write quite a bit more.
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