I’ve walked this path from house to shed my whole
childhood and not once have I looked down,
until today, stumbling over the granite step stone.
Smooth groove carved in the center from so many
feet. One edge a little rounder than the other. A night
crawler wriggles beneath for shade. What lives have I
stepped on? I lift the loose stone, worm trails eaten
into dirt, a few mealy grubs, roly polies. The stone
has mapped their travels. Thumbing the granite lanes,
so regular, so intentional. The marks too perfect. I claw
off dirt, letters emerge—the headstone too worn to read.
Anastasia Stelse is a native of southeastern Wisconsin, a graduate from the M.F.A. program at American University, and a graduate from the University of Southern Mississippi’s Creative Writing Ph.D. program housed in the Center for Writers. She currently teaches at the University of South Florida. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Narrative, Poet Lore, Sou’wester, Passages North, Fairy Tale Review, and Crab Orchard Review, among others.