She would climb each floor to the top
of the five-story walk-up she lived in
as a girl, slept on the fire escape
and the rooftop in the summer heat,
a whole block of families camped out
under the same dream in one great
breath rising into the evening air.
But now this woman—
visiting her son where mountains
suddenly rise at the edge of the plain,
climbs straight up for an hour
carrying her purse she would never leave,
both of us weak for reasons
we keep to ourselves, as I lead her
by the hand as though up winding stairs.
Stephen Ruffus is originally from New York City. He has lived in Colorado and California where he studied at Colorado State University and the University of California at Irvine. Currently, he lives in Salt Lake City, Utah where he fulfilled a career as a college teacher and administrator.