Rebecca Macijeski

Self Portrait as My Childhood Staircase

I’m not straight up and down like the ones in movies
where children grow older in portraits up the wall. I’ve
got a crook in the middle, a curve. You remember.
When you ran down as a girl, I’d stop you just before
the bottom, so you could decide if you really wanted to
keep going. One day your brother threw your perfect bright
plastic dollhouse down me and it stopped thereβ€”all
flotsamed in the curve. As you picked up the tiniest
pots and pans, a mom, a bit of doorway, through the
tornado of your cries you had to be sure everyone knew
it wasn’t the dolls you cared about. No. Those were girl
things. It was the house you wanted perfect. It was the
house you needed to hold onto. Each child with their
own bedroom. Two bathrooms. A kitchen where
everything worked. You swore you could smell a pie
baking in the little oven. Apple. Apples picked from
the backyard tree. And when you held the plastic dog
in your hands, ran your little fingers along the rigid
swirls of his fur, you could see him waking up to his
own apple you’d throw and throw again like something
you could control. Like something you could control.

About the Author

Rebecca Macijeski holds a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has attended artist residencies with The Ragdale Foundation, The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and Art Farm Nebraska. She has also worked for Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry newspaper column, as an Assistant Editor in Poetry for the literary journals Prairie Schooner and Hunger Mountain, and is the recipient of a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Nominee, her poems have appeared in The Missouri Review, Poet Lore, Barrow Street, Nimrod, The Journal, Sycamore Review, The Cincinnati Review, Puerto del Sol, and many others. Rebecca is Creative Writing Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Her chapbook, Autobiography, is forthcoming from Split Rock Press in 2022.