Triangle: Mr. Steuer and Ida Okum, 9th Floor

Deborah Woodard



When you went home at night did you ever have to go out the Washington Place door?






Yes, sir.


Was the door unlocked? To the other lawyer you said that you were almost sure?


I didn’t say “almost,” I said, “I am sure.”


Didn’t you shake your head up and down?


It’s just a scatter of ash in my mind that I shake down.


When I say “Washington Place door,” you say “elevators.” I want to know what door you are talking about and which door you are testifying about.


I always used to go with the elevator home. I didn’t know what you asked me.


What kind of work did you do?




You mark?


Yes, sir.


You made a mark where they sew buttons on, is that the idea?


I do. I make a mark for them to line up.


What did you go up to the tenth floor for?


I had to sew some labels on. Then, I set off quickly on my lonesome. I think that I have all my stuff at the end.


Have your wages been larger since the fire?


No, sir.


Did you suffer an injury?


I dream two scars where the wings should be. I see the mechanical up and down of the feathers each time I breathe.


Is this a dramatic performance?



there was a girl curled stone-like on her side



Deborah Woodard’s most recent collection of poetry is Borrowed Tales (Stockport Flats, 2012). Her translation from the Italian of Amelia Rosselli, Hospital Series, is just out from New Directions.