What Happens in the Stairwell

Stays in the stairwell.


The column of stairs stretches,

Towards the sky.

On the twenty-first floor,

You’d wonder if

It gets lonely here.


Company has been scarce;

Sedentary people prefer lifts.

Contrivances to alleviate

The discomfort of lifting themselves.

It gets lonely here.


Days on end with no light,

Dimly lit by artifice.

Powered by capricious sensors,

Flickering on and off

Like an equivocally misleading missive,

That company was arriving.

Was company enticed by the lift?

Or was the stairwell invisible?

It gets lonely here.


The obnoxious slapping of slippers

Floods the stairwell,

With a rare cacophony of sounds.

Once every few months.

The stairwell meets the residents,

It was built for.

Fire alarms are assuring harbingers,

Of transient company.

Mostly it gets lonely here.


Silence haunts these steps,

Echoing up and down

These nondescript flights of stairs.

For those who seek solace,

The stairwell beckons,

With welcoming lights to receive you

Like a treasured guest.

Explore these dusty railings without

An intention to plunge twenty-one lonely storeys.

It gets lonely enough here.


The stairwell is the most perfect place.

For you to vent your pent-up emotions.

A simple shout will enliven

All twenty one lonely storeys.

It is a luxury in a communal building.

The stairwell’s popular rival will not

Keep your secrets,

With lurking cameras and

Unabashed invasive advertisement

It may get lonely here,

But whatever you do in the stairwell,

Stays in the stairwell.

Images by Sarah Chew.


About the Author

“I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints” – Billy Joel

 If you don’t know, I am all of the following: poet, writer, copywriter, contender for the biggest phantom of Tembusu.