The button must have been jammed.
I would ascend, but the elevator took me
to the sub-basement thump.
When I opened what I later discovered
is called a collapsible gate, a scuttle of
rodents greeted my arrival.
Let me say this for myself. I did not jump
to the conclusion that they were rats. How
could I tell in the darkness
into which I had warily stepped? To which
my eyes grew slowly accustomed until, yes,
those are shoes and above
them the cuffs of trousers or pant suits and,
above them, figures standing stiff as statues.
Unless they were statues,
perfectly motionless as if bolted to the wall.
As if holding the soaring building above on
their invisible shoulders,
whose existence I did not discount simply
because I could not discern them. Nor did
I jump to the conclusion
that they were headless simply because I,
so far below, could not see their features
which I could only imagine
without taking a leap of faith, or levitating.
And the moment I was able to look them
in the eye, they opened theirs,
as surprised as I was to find themselves alive.