The Staircase: Mirror Version

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My best friend died.
She wasn’t supposed to.
No one should go at 42. 
At least I got to say goodbye. 

She was in the hospital,
A sallow-skinned satire of herself. 
Half-vacant eyes looked at me.
I admit I was fearful; I didn’t know what I
Would see if I looked in deep. 

And now I was in the car heading home
For the funeral.
I didn’t ask to go this way.
My sister didn’t know, but
she drove us past a large hillside
Near the service station off the highway.

I saw a staircase that had once only
Been in a dream. 
One of those that comes
Late in a sleep cycle and doesn’t let go quietly
as morning inches towards the light.

It was a winding staircase of stone and wood,
Climbing a shadowed hillside.
It led to a house that filled my entire body 
with dread, like a horror-movie skeleton 
curling around my chest,
whispering vile words into my ears.
A place where edges blur and shed.

I was too afraid to stop and 
see what it led to. 
Because I knew.
I knew why it was there,
I knew why I was there.

Some say dreams are a message
Or a connection to a realm 
we cannot see.
They straddle the planes of 
Existence precariously,
While we’re left with black clothing, 
worn ceremoniously.

My friend died and all I got was this
Dream, this staircase, this sadness.

I didn’t ask to go this way.
But I knew why I was there.

Photo by Lisa Fotios

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