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In the market town of Yelets
in the south of Russia,
stands an old high school for women
that survived wars and destruction.

Everything in the building has been restored,
except the cast iron staircase
with curving steps
and black, polished railings.

Everything has been lost.
Only this cast iron staircase remembers
the light steps of the young women
who ran down, clutching their new diplomas,
dreaming about freedom.

Tatiana Rebecca Shrayer
Tatiana Rebecca Shrayer, 13
Brookline, Massachusetts