Sport 33: Spring 2005
Down the hallway, there are no skylights
and the wallpaper is of so tangled a wilderness, even the trees
are lost, and all the young girls, their parents,
their faithful dogs. I search for them here,
each of my family.
Behind one door my mother springs back like a trap,
her arms opened up
to consume me.
A sudden high wind rackets through the hallway
bursting open another—
it is my brother, with hands fisted on hips
standing tall in red sneakers on Christmas day
his eyes narrowed to meet mine;
he is a man in a cape, billowing, ready to fly.
Doors open one after the other
upon my eldest brother,
who holds each like a person's shoulder—
or a shield
that he lowers slowly away from his body
and in each doorway, he is older.
Behind sliding doors I find my father.
He steps backward into a windowless room
looking not at me but patiently over the top of my head,
as if counting the beats of a pulse:
I am not in an elevator
but he is so sure, I believe him when he tells me
that I have stopped on the wrong floor.
After all, I have not taken this way home before;
the geography of my family is unfamiliar.