Brian Doyle

I was on a gleaming elevator in a vast hotel in a huge city
The other day when a man got on with his daughter about
Age four. I asked her what floor they wanted and she said
Seven million. I reached up as high as I could and pressed
An imaginary button and she laughed and some little door
Opened in all three of us, a wordless yes, and we started to
Talk about the elevatorā€™s voice, which sounded like a lady
From Ireland or Scotland, and how the buttons were twice
As big as any giantā€™s fingers, and how older gents like me
Remembered buildings without thirteenth floors, isnā€™t that
Funny, that an ancient superstition would still be reflected
In modern buildings? By now the girl was dancing and her
Dad and I were grinning at her ebullience but then the lady
Spoke their floor and the door opened. The girl leapt away,
But the dad hesitated a second and said quietly hey thanks,
And I knew just what he meant ā€“ something like thanks for
Being four years old for a minute. We have those moments
When we are all the same age, from the same country, with
The same language on our teeth, and it never lasts too long,
But it always feels weirdly familiar, doesnā€™t it? Like we are
Home again for a moment, with family we hardly get to see.


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