- New Steps
I only had so much wood and so many nails and no money to buy more so when I built the steps I made four instead of five with a rise of eleven inches. I convinced myself it was ok but my grandmother took one look and said, "How do you think an old person is going to climb those? You ought to tear them out, and build new ones." "These are the new ones," I said, but I found some old dowels and added a railing. She said it did as much good as a television to a drowning man. It gnawed at me so I borrowed the money and bought wood – ropey utility grade – scavenged an old sign from the women's shelter, cut it up and used it for fascia. The new steps had a rise of five inches, "That's good," Grandma said, "I can climb those. But look at them, all raw like that, if a person were barefoot, she'd get splinters. You should sand and paint them." I wanted to say they were fine but stopped, realizing I'd never seen my grandmother barefoot [End Page 111] though I knew barefoot is how a young girl would run up the steps.
David Romtvedt serves as the current poet laureate of Wyoming. His most recent book of poems is Some Church (Milkweed Editions).