Digging Out the Stairs

For Seamus Heaney

Like unclipped toe nails
in reverse,
every five years
the stone steps
her father made
at the top
of the walk
into the ground,
the dirt now rolling,
loose rocks tripping
over themselves

Need to be dug out,
the shovel striking
first leaves, then roots
and finally rock,
the slabs tilting
back into
their natural selves,
back toward earth,
but the world
repairing itself
with or without

our help,
themselves again
before winter,
the dirt slide,
a smooth slope
with little ledges,
a small hill
with footholds,
a mountain
to grapple with

but not for us,
the good of us,
really, there
and not, one foot
on the ground,
our bodies dragged
our purpose
clear as dust


Steven B. Katz

About Steven B. Katz

In addition to scholarly books and articles, and a chapbook of poetry “Nana!”, Steven B. Katz has published poems in Pembroke Magazine, South Carolina Review, Southern Poetry Review, College Composition and Communication, Pre/Text, Postmodern Culture, European Judaism (London) Obsidian
III: Black Literature in Review, The Raleigh News and Observer, Free Verse, Continental Drift, Archives of Family (AMA), Voices: Journal of the American Academy of Psychotherapy, Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Star*Line: Magazine of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, and Jacar Press 
volumes, as well as in Elohi Gadugi. Steve is the R. Roy and Marnie Pearce Professor of Professional Communication, as well as a Fellow of the Rutland Institute for Ethics, at Clemson 
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