First Floor Stairs II

My sister still hasn’t come back.

Dad got home this morning.
He brought bread, which probably means
Mom’s angry at him.

They’re talking to some woman
in the living room while I watch on the stairs.
I’ve seen her before, somewhere.
Her hair is short and black.

She grew up in our house
more than 30 years ago.

It’s hard to hear
because she never faces me
and whenever Dad looks up
I scram.

Of course! she says to my mother.
We used to play hide-and seek
in the old kitchen cabinets.

My lungs go cold.

When I look up
the woman is laughing.

Let me tell you: my brother.
God, my brother. Our parents…
sometimes they went out. One time
we were playing cards
in the attic. I went downstairs
to get something, and when came back
he grabbed my shoulders and threw me
into the closet. He swore
up and down there was a man
in the window.

She concentrates.
I think… oh, yeah. He said the man
had a flashlight he was shining
on his face.

The woman laughs
and drinks her wine.

And then she turns
and looks right at me.

Added: March 20, 2013 | Last changed: August 16, 2014