Written to celebrate the centennial of
Dilworth Elementary School, Pittsburgh, PA
A century’s stream of little feet
Has worn the black stone stairs at Dilworth School,
Lives cascading upward
Against the eroding current of time,
Up the grades of awareness, leaving childhood behind.
The task of these stairs has been to wear away
In order to lift up.
So the teachers are stairs of a kind,
Abraded bit by bit, willingly,
Lovingly, pressing against the daily grind.
My chalk-dust memories of the 1960s combine
With the space-age scent of marker VOCs.
I imagine these stairwells as antique missile gantries,
This school the elementary launching pad
For ten thousand complicated missions.
Booster stages fall away, their function fulfilled.
The payloads continue their ascent.
Some attain their mundane orbits, or plummet back to Earth.
But others voyage far, to probe mysterious planets,
Dance with comets, and apprehend the ultimate star.
— Richard Krepski
Richard Krepski is a volunteer tutor at Dilworth Elementary School, which is about to begin its 100th school year, through the Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring program. His poetry has appeared in Oberon, Tiferet, Bolts of Silk, Mobius, Still Crazy, JesusRadicals, and Parody. He lives in Highland Park.