When I was five
I used to jump from the top of the stairs
to the landing with a red cape,
believing if I kept trying
I’d be Super-girl
saving the world from damage.
Many afternoons, my bare feet
thudded the catchy carpet
as smoke rose up the stairs
with the patience of a coming storm,
my father puffing a pipe,
his big knuckles unharmed
from their crack into my cheek;
his eyes empty of what he’d done
beneath my cape.
It didn’t matter that there was no such thing
At least I could fly.