I heard she stays down in the basement
awake all night, quiet and tolerant,
still and watching at the scalp high window
waiting to come up
when we listen to her twist the old steps
to the morning light.
I heard she was dressed, all of herself,
in temporary clothes, thin and cold dyed,
to leave their rainbow trails as she goes.
I heard she was decorated and neat arranged
in plastic foliage that stays forever
except for the dust.
I heard she went down before winter.
I heard she lied and said she lost the way.
I heard she has been chipping hard
at the old blue paint and the rust beneath
on the hinges of the bulkhead door.
I heard she will open them quietly,
smooth and silent in the spring.
I heard she made herself a promise.
I heard she looks forward and upward and down.
I heard she is afraid she to see herself,
turned, still, sculptural, mineral,
in the places she has been.