heights

up down up down up down
over and over again

fifteen minutes of quiet
hesitation wearing that first step
while listening to stories
of his dad at the same age
standing astride yoked water buffalo
while walking them to pasture and
racing up mango trees
with neighborhood children

fifteen minutes of the same tired
footwork and tales before finally
gathering enough courage to
climb the remaining rungs to
sigh and smile in
pride and relief at the
panoramic view of rooftops in
neighborhoods miles away

up down up down up down
over and over again

fifteen more minutes and counting
of increasingly confident feet
clomping up and down
that wooden ladder as
conversation and eyes
and the chance of me
napping in peace
slip away

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