Stairs

If you want to find her, if you miss her, cross the room when the house is dark and quiet, to that chair she used to call hers.  Sit down there and you will feel a little of her warmth still there, deep in the cushions.  Very little, but still there, and hers.

Now go to the foot of the stairs and wait there, as she used to, and grip tight and look upwards, as she used to.

Kneel down now and place your fingers on the stairs in front, and you’ll detect the slightest of impressions still in the pile.  And if you look hard enough you’ll see the outline of her shoes.

And if you lightly brush your fingers on the rough brown fibres, and hold them up to the light on the landing when you get there, you’ll notice a few specks which will actually be little bits of her soles, not from other shoes but hers.

And if you look your very hardest at the banister that held her hand, you’ll notice again the very faintest of imprints of her fingers in the wood. And if you rest your cheek there, on those imprints, you will quite literally be touching just a little of her fingers, the little that’s still there, and they will be touching you.

Climb up slowly now to the landing, as she used to, and take a breath, as she used to, shuffle to the next flight, and you’ll catch a trace of her perfume still there, just a little of it, that she put on herself.

And at the very top, look up at the Christ set in the wall, as she used to, and look with everything you have, with all your strength, as she used to.

In that smoothed face, cut-in eyes and scarlet-painted heart, she’ll be waiting for you.

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Landing

It is interesting to watch how birds land in trees and I’ve been paying more attention to how they do it recently.  Wings outstretched and still, the pigeon glides to within a few feet above the branch and then suddenly feathers splay to slow right down and then a sequence of very quick abbreviated wing strokes to lower itself down on to the flexing branch, perhaps one or two more strokes right afterwards for final balancing, a quick lift of the tail feathers, and then stillness.  It is the same method every time. Flight has ended and that change from flying to standing takes just a couple of careful, practised seconds.

Have I landed yet or am I still flying?  Have a found a place to settle?  Would it be this unsupported place, this unendorsed experience known only to me?