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After Staircase by Do Ho Suh

I balk at stepping up and stepping down.
There’s no perspective I can stand.
Handrails that don’t hold
and dizzy red-lit vertigo.

with skin like aspic,
squat behind balusters –
in ruby lingerie.

Blood, graffiti,
dirty treads and risers.
The janitor has lost his mop,
his bucket and his nerve.

Bruised illegals
sweat behind the doors unwaged,
living on the slant.
Cramped work is hard.

One of us must have a bomb-heart
that will detonate,
blow this building
to make space.

Anna-May Laugher is a prize winning poet. Her work has been widely anthologised. She is a regular student at the Poetry School and believes that all the courses she has taken have been invaluable for the development of her work. Her first pamphlet will be published later this year at the Swindon Poetry Festival.

This poem was written on Tamar Yoseloff’s course ‘Poetry and Visual Art’ in response to Do Ho Suh’s artwork ‘Staircase’.

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Image Credits:

Do Ho Suh’s Staircase-III photographed by jpellgen