by Daniel Eduardo Ruiz

only if I like you—because the ceiling and the floor
are the same color gray as a saturated sidewalk
and if I need to go down seven floors
that’s my business—just like it might be your business

to sit right next to me in an empty movie theater
or wear a shirt thinner than black iced coffee
or point out that this elevator expires in August
or make too much noise in the adjacent bathroom stall

I want to know where you’re going, though,
because I wait for you to board this elevator
on the third floor to go to the fourth
when the stairs are instantly accessible
like mangoes that fell from your tree into your backyard

but I feel terrible when I notice your limp
because I’m wrong about your apathy

it does take more than stairs to keep you healthy
those heels do make you look professional
I understand you’re in a hurry

I’ve got to be getting somewhere too
I just never remember to get out on my floor

IMAGE: “Lift Sign” by Tom Gowanlock. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Daniel Eduardo Ruiz was born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, but now lives in Tallahassee, Florida. A poet, translator, and full-time student at Florida State University, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the minnesota reviewNew Delta Review, and Foliate Oak, and he was fortunate enough to be nominated for a Pushcart Prize.