Monday, December 12, 2011

Concrete Steps by Danita Dyess

When my spirit is diminished
And my feet can't take another step
When the world wants to exploit me
And the manager wants more than I can pay
I have a place to go - I've found a place to stay

This school is my safe haven
She's my fortress poised high on a hill
With a 1,000 lights glaring
And a maze of classrooms, hallways, and doors
There's a cafeteria, library, and auditorium on multi-level floors

By day, she houses a principal, teachers, and administrative staff
By day, she is surrounded by kids with freckles and missing teeth
But at night, the brick and mortar walls become my castle
Her only concern is protecting me

On the south entrance, four panels composed the rear roof
But, the wind blew and only left three; three panels protected me
But, then it rained again and the wind blew
Now, there are only two

The north side is my palatial estate - Greek architecture and a courtyard with Corinthian columns
Concrete steps lead to my "room" on the second floor
Who would dare climb the steps and disturb my sleep?
Who would invade my inner sanctum and steal my peace!

In the stealth of darkness, I appear
Our's is a clandestine affair; it's a cloak-and-dagger operation
Six hours 'til daybreak, just 360 minutes
Then I'll slip out the same way I came in
I'll become an apparition, a figment of the imagination

Close calls and near misses. Yes, I've had a few
In the spring, bushy bushes and thick trees hid me
But winter came and they shed their leaves
In the morning, couples walk their dogs and teachers arrive early
At night, maintenance workers work late
These are the culprits that jeopardize my fate

Familiar sounds comfort me
Two raccoons sit atop a trash can and munch on leftover morsels
Crickets chirp and a kitten's bell-studded collar sounds
The generator spits and hisses, spits and hisses, spits and hisses
And a leaf falls from a maple tree

My neighbors are the Rothchilds, Sinclairs, and Westons
They have manicured lawns and vintage cars
Are they so different from me?
Our only separation is their fenced back yard

Someday, I'll leave this place,
Yes, someday, I'll simply fly away
My spirit will be restored, and well-heeled shoes will adorn my feet

But I'm saddened as I contemplate
My exit from this refuge
Somewhere I used to go
When I needed a place to stay

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