††Poetry to the Stairs 
† 
Thirty-nine Steps 
 
© Stefana Williams* 
 
We live on Paulina Street. 
Itís a loft space. 
No elevator.  
Just the thirty-nine steps. 
 
Count Ďem. 
Iíve counted them. 
Weíve counted them. 
Itís thirty-nine steps. 
 
We worked those steps. 
Bounded. Leapt. Jumped. 
With our paintings, sketches, hijinks. 
Vinyls, CDís, comic books, galore. 
 
Bounded. Cavorted. Gamboled. 
Ping pong. Love. Music. 
He and I. Him and me. 
Stepping, stepping, stepping forward. 
 
The thirty-nine steps turned on us. 
 
You try it. Try climbing. 
Groping the railing. Catching your breath. 
Willing yourself up, up, up. 
The thirty-nine steps. 
 
Chemo doesnít give a fig 
About our thirty-nine steps. 
Scoffs at us. Flips the finger at our efforts. 
To get up to our life where we were so very, very, very, happy. 
 
Bulletin! Going down thirty-nine steps, taint no picnic either. 
Unsteady isnít even the word. 
Calling in favors to Donald 
To spot my boy down to the car. 
 
To go to the various and sundry torture treatments. 
To save him so he can climb back up the thirty-nine steps. 
Back into our lives of joy. Of our world on a string. 
Sorry. Had to borrow from the Chairman of the Board. 
 
Thirty-nine steps. 
Henry and I walked them. 
Took our bikes up and down them. 
Because we could. We could. 
 
We dared to live and love up the thirty-nine steps. 
 
*Stefana Williams is the author of Portlandís Little Red Book of Stairs.†She was living in Chicago when her husband died. She is currently living in Sacramento, CA.