Staircase at Tallulah Gorge

January 16, 2013 § 3 Comments

Eucalyptus by Stephen Martin

Staircase at Tallulah Gorge
Kathleen Brewin Lewis

Hiking at Tallulah Falls one hot, humid August day with my son. We come across a man slumped and silent on the steep steps that lead hundreds of feet up from the floor of the gorge, his frightened face the color of the red clay trail. He is already being attended to by other hikers; the paramedics are preparing to carry him up the last third of the stairs to the ambulance. As I pass by him, as he leans into the throes of heart attack or heat stroke, he looks me in the eye and I can see that he is not much older than I am, hell, he may be the same age. Now I understand: I am not middle-aged anymore, I am two-thirds of the way up the staircase myself.

My son turns and looks at me questioningly. Just keep moving, I say in a low voice, they’re taking care of him. Just keep moving.


Kathleen Brewin Lewis is an Atlanta writer whose prose, poetry, and prose poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Weave, Boston Literary Magazine, The Prose-Poem Project, Town Creek Poetry, Deep South Magazine, Constellations, and Slice of Life. She is also an editor for the online literary journal, Flycatcher: A Journal of Native Imagination.

Image: Eucalyptus, by Stephen Martin


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§ 3 Responses to Staircase at Tallulah Gorge

  • judebirch says:

    LOVELY. You’ve captured two deep feelings here. By describing so well the face of the fallen, I was with him. Then, with the words of the teller of the tale, you created a disappointment for me, the reader. I don’t know what I expected of her as she moved on, but I felt a lack of care . . . a need to move away. Ah, pass it by.

  • jodyhhc says:

    Beautiful and true. It gives me shivers.

  • Betsy Smalley says:

    This captured me. As we age, we need to keep moving. And she knew that this man was being getting the care he needed. Just keep moving!

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