Wallpaper like the skin of a leper.
The spiraling staircase creaks and moans and laments so many forgotten yesterdays as I ascend to floors displaced in time.
Under a thick blanket of dust a lizard's skeleton rests atop the arm of a broken chair smiling knowingly into the unknown.
Spider's have built cities between the columns of moldy boxes and splintered shelves.
"Welcome home" they whisper
"Stay with us"
But I climb the weary stairs past cracked windows and bored apparitions to a landing where the gray detritus of time lays scattered around my ox-blood shoes.
An age-stained ivory face peeks at me from a pile of mannequin parts.
It wears the same ironic expression as a traveller I once met from an antique land.
Two more pallid models stand destitute in the corner.
I feel like I've interrupted them, like they're waiting for me to leave.
The path before me is lit only by a singe weak ray of light leaking through a rotted hole in the roof.
The ladder across the room calls through the darkness in raspy tones.
It shivers as if it's reddish rungs were exposed nerves
but I climb it's tortuous length and open the hatch.
Daylight sprays me with a shotgun's mist,
it stings my eyes and confounds my senses.
Looking out over the downtown park the homeless look like stray dogs.
The stray dogs look like rats.
I scrape sediment from the reservoir of an ancient cooling unit,
desperately curious about how the sidewalk must taste.