For as long as we lived in the Bronx
I can remember there being
A copy of Dianetics on the steps
leading to second floor of our house.
It was about four or so steps up from the landing.
No one I knew in our family read it.
It was like this neutral crossing guard
Witnessing our travels up and down the stairs
Always sitting there with other books I cannot recall.
I remember its general colors.
The commercial played on television constantly
During the time it was released
And it seemed,
for many years after.
There was the orange and yellow splash of fire or
Actively leaping and frozen in time
On the paperback cover.
Every once in a while I would pick it up
And absentmindedly flip through
While I was on the phone with friends in high school.
Or having long talks with my mom in the evening,
Me wedging myself lengthwise on the steps
Looking at her through a beaded curtain
While she cleaned or sewed
Or made food for a catering job.
But no attention was paid to the content of Dianetics.
Krishna, Buddha, Allah, Jesus, Shakti, Goddess all came through
But L. Ron Hubbard never got a word in.
The pages became as yellow as that fire on the cover.
And no one I knew ever read it.
But it sat on our steps for ages.
As if it’s presence alone was quite enough
without actually attempting to accept it.