NaPoWriMo day 24 (Up against the wall) prompt Day 24:  Write a poem that features walls, bricks, stones, arches, or the like.


Sounds of Nat King Cole waft through 1954

“Smile though your heart is aching”

straps clinging to the piano mover

hefting the baby grand 3 stories.


July in Florida, sweat held at bay by a bandana,

enlarged heart straining at his barrel chest.

Weightlifting compliments of overexertion,

he trudges up one more step–then one more.


Just one more step away from childhood,

away from a father fierce, short and wiry

away from the man holding a knife to

chase his family out the door for the night.


“My father built the Flagler’s fireplace,”

my dad used to say.  “He had a gift.”

Being a monster is a gift?  Grandpa loomed

over my father, a little boy until death.


“He knew what to do with a knife,” dad said.

“He fought men twice his size and won,

slashing so their guts fell on the floor.”

That’s what every 10 year old girl wants to hear?


The walking wounded trudging up steps to a door,

trying to earn a living for his wife and children

ringing the doorbell answered by a woman who gasps,

“You are filthy!” In a New York City accent.


She doesn’t see the piano on his back, nor his effort.

She sees a native Floridian only good for menial labor.

Does she understand that carrying a piano up stairs

isn’t something you do in a 3-piece suit?


A boxer with Mr. Universe muscles looks at the floor,

answering in his lovely tenor voice, “Yes, ma’am.”

His children will never know the opulence in her home,

yet he politely asks, “Where would you like it.”


The walking wounded carrying with him a 5th grade education

understands why the woman with everything burns

a scented candle as he sets up her piano.  Scowling,

she places money in his hand without a thank you.


No tip, but his children will have pork and beans tonight.

His children won’t starve, they won’t be chased into the cold.

They won’t be threatened by a little man with a knife.

He’s still the boy under his father’s fireplace, never to grow.