It’s a balancing act
Both motherhood and the stairs.
We teeter
Tiny fingers wrapped around grime
Covered metal bars.

You don’t touch those
You touch the rail
But the rails eludes her,
Even on her tippiest toes.
Also, the choice:
Grime or germs.

My hand grips hers
My other arm lugs.
Used to lug a red wagon
Canvas and steel frame
30 pounds of steel shooting messages
Through my arm muscles
Straight to my brain
“Are you stupid?”
“No really, how stupid?”
Message received.
Better knock it off before that arm is off limits for a week.

Now it is some food up number
11 pounds.

You guys got this.

Don’t fall backwards.
Yeah, thanks brain.
No really, if you slip back you are dragging her with you.
I go upstairs dozens of times a day.


I never fall back.
But the fear makes me obsessed.
God, her hands need a wipe.
She must be obsessed too
With the possibility
Of the worst.

Swipe and repeat.
More stairs
Every station
At my house.

At times I walk miles.
Half a mile sure.
1 mile ok.
Hell, up to three.

Sweat glazing my face.
Blisters staking claim on my big toes.
Worn area skin where sandal strap eats flesh.
Blurry eyes from saline drips.
All that
To avoid another damn climb.

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