by Christine Adams Beckett
A decade of experience
Descending the same staircase
Maneuvering toddlers, laundry baskets,
The intention of manually
Juicing a growling boiler
To chase a bitter winter
From children’s bedrooms
Created permanent motor sensory memory,
Imbedded in the muscles
That made electric illumination
A superfluous luxury.
The feet, alone, a podiatric machine
Attached independently to the cerebral cortex
Unaided by the eye. They functioned on
Auto pilot, allowing the remaining
Grey matter to wander to
Unfinished projects, gaining weight
As they approached deadline,
Market lists and their
Corresponding lentil soup recipe,
An impossible holiday in
Reykjavik to see the
Step six of the twelve,
Assigned to remove deficits
Of character by Higher Power
A make-your-own destruction
Of sadistic plastic toy bricks.
Cutting into the tender flesh of the arch,
Making it first bloodied,
Later scarred, always proud
The Lego throws the gait to flail,
Steals heels from the going,
Knocks knuckles on the riser
Twists arms, tears intact tricep fibers.
The overridden consciousness
Replaces assignments, supper and
Iceland with a sudden reorganization,
Interruption of a long-welded neuro-pathway
With pain stimuli and solitude and grief.
With as much vulnerability
As any undomesticated animal
Performing rudimentary tasks
Of survival, automatic as any
Human charge of the vie quotidien:
Great risk is taken by making the most
Inconsequential of choices.
Jarred awake on the concrete floor,
Thankful for another chance,
We shake self-pity, loneliness
And with throbbing limbs gratefully rise
Leaving a trail of lopsided bloody footprints
From the stair to boiler.
One trembling hand turns the knob,
Releases the water
And revels in the resulting warmth of
A blue flame.