blackbirdonline journalFall 2020  Vol. 19 No. 2
 print preview

A Reading by Steve Scafidi
June 29, 2019, Visual Arts Center of Richmond

On June 29, 2019, poet Steve Scafidi was a visiting writer at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. Scafidi read a selection across his four books, including To the Briar and the Bramble, as well as two previously unpublished poems, “The Bull Leaper's Birthday” and “The Jewel,” which appear under Poetry in this issue of Blackbird. The event was made possible by Carole Weinstein's support of the center's Leslie Shiel Scholarship for Creative Writing. The public reading was preceded by a craft talk for Visual Arts Writing Students, which Shiel and Scafidi refer to during the reading. Accompanying the audio is a full transcription below.


Leslie Shiel: I’d like to welcome you all to the Visual Arts Center. My name is Leslie Shiel and I’m one of the teachers here. And I told the advanced poetry students who were at the craft session that I can think of nothing better than getting together on a hot, late afternoon with friends and talking about poems. Maybe one step better is getting together in an early evening when it’s cooler and talking with friends about poems.

I am so glad that you are all here in what is to me a magical, enchanted space. If you could just imagine that during these last two weeks the place has been filled with little kids making things—and their parents taking deep breaths on the stairs and heading out to have coffee and just dropping them off and going, [whispering] “Oh, thank God.” See, that’s what art can do and that’s part of the layering of the space at this time.

I am going to ask for one favor before we begin. People who have been in my classes know that I always ask this. I’m going to ask you to please turn off your cell phones. And even though we learned in the craft session that sometimes it’s really good to break rules and do other things, I’m going to hold to this one for tonight because I think what can happen is that we can create “a space out of space.” And we can tell the rest of the world that no matter what else is happening, we get to do this now, and we get to listen for, in Steve’s words in the last session, “that river of words.” And so I’m going to ask us to do that. Thank you.

I do want to thank a couple of people before we start, and introduce a couple of people. The reading and the craft session and books that students receive were all made possible by such a marvelous patron of poetry, Carole Weinstein, and we are just so grateful for her vision, her wit, her way of seeing right through things and what needs to happen, and for her bringing Steve Scafidi back to Richmond. And so, let’s all give her a hand . . .

Steve’s books will be for sale. There are copies that you can look at at this table. And then down at the front desk is where the Visual Arts Center is selling them. I’d like to introduce Stefanie Fedor, the executive director of the Visual Arts Center, and Lizzie Oliver, the Director of Development. Thank you for all of the behind-the-scenes work that you do to make this place work for little kids to people in their nineties, maybe more. So thank you; thank you for that.

I also want to introduce Kathleen Kelly who is back here in Richmond, married to Steve Scafidi. It’s so good to have you back in town. And my spouse, Michael Keller, who has dealt with a lot of crabbiness in the last week—I’m sorry, ok—that kind of thing. Alright. So thank you. Thank you for all of that.

In the past two weeks, with students both at the Visual Arts Center and in a brand new summer poetry class at VCU, we’ve looked at the work of Steve Scafidi, in part for preparation for his visit today. One of the things that we’ve done—because Steve was the first person to tell me that the title of a poem is a “secret entranceway.” It’s a secret gateway and poets get to decide how they want to bring their readers in. It’s one of our decisions, and that always felt so enchanting to me, the secret gateway. So, one of the things that we’ve done in both groups is gone around our tables—around the circle—and read out loud the titles in the table of contents of his four books.

I saw the energy in the room change both places, here at Visual Arts and in the new class at VCU, when students said aloud those titles, laughing at some of them, deeply sorrowful with others. It was just amazing to see the physical effect that reading a good line of poetry, or walking through a gate that is open and inclusive rather than keeping people away, what that can do to a person’s body, and what that can do to a community.

I saw people go giddy with joy. I saw us read about reckless abandon. I heard people almost break with tenderness and then stop before reading the name, let’s say, Emmett Till. I asked students to circle the titles that were the gateways they wanted to pass through at that moment. And so here are their choices. (And I had my own.) Here are their choices.

From Steve’s first book—from Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer: “Drinking Gift Whiskey,” “Ferocious Ode,” “Ode to And,” “Naked Sunlit Afternoon with Vultures,” “Icarus on the Beach in the Afternoon,” “For the Eighth Annual Celebration of St. Cecilia, the Patron Saint of Music, Purcellville, Virginia, November 1999”—[gesturing toward an individual entering the reading] I was there—Cherie, who just entered the room said, “I was there!"—“Ten-Letter Word for a Lucky Man.”

I’d open the book, show them what it looked like on the page—the poem—read the first lines, and then, just when I had their attention, stop. I’d ask them about expectations and then I brought in the poems the next day, in the case of VCU.

From Steve’s second book, For Love of Common Words, here are three of the titles: “The Boy Inside the Pumpkin,” “Rainy Millionaire Morning,” “For Love of Common Things.”

And then, from The Cabinetmaker’s Window . . . and before I get to those titles I want to say one more thing about this book, The Cabinetmaker’s Window. This book, Steve’s third, and this book, To The Bramble and the Briar, came out in the same year, 2014. For several months before this book [The Bramble and the Briar] came out, I had seen many of the drafts, and went back and forth in letters, and it was a pretty thrilling project. I mean it was just kind of amazing, and so I knew that this book was going on, and I knew that it was going to come out soon. But then in the mail, before this book [Bramble] came out, I got a package with this book [The Cabinetmaker’s Window]. I had no idea that this book was going on. And here is the note that was in the package.

So just imagine that you get this, you are reading somebody’s poems on another book and then you get this new kid in the mail with this note: “Sure hope you are all doing well this winter. It is so cold, right? Hope these poems keep you warm. Love, Steve.”

The reason that this affects me so much right now is that in the craft session, Steve named his session the “The Eland of Making,” the Eland being an antelope. And he talks so much at the beginning about the antelope having to outrun the cold. And then to reread this line, “it is so cold, right? Hope these poems keep you warm.” And I hope that’s what we all do for each other when we light fires around the work and kind of set each other free to do what we have to do for ourselves and for the community.

So, titles from The Cabinetmaker’s Window:“Questions I Asked Death, Questions Death Asked Me,” “Days We Can’t Play Black Sabbath,” “On the Rebel Flag over my Neighbor’s House.”

What I want to end with right here, because I just want to present gateways today, places to walk through. And there are times over the years that I’ve walked through the poems at one time, and then because so many things have gone on in our culture, in our country, in my own life, I’ll walk through the same gateway and there seems to be a different poem at the end. Same lines but saying to me, “You weren’t ready to hear all of this before. Now, sit your child-self down, hear what you heard before, and I will be behind you with my hand on your back, helping you to face some new things that you didn’t have the words for before.”

It is my great pleasure to introduce my dear friend and extraordinary human being and poet, Steve Scafidi.

Steve Scafidi: Wow, it’s not often that as a writer you get to arrive somewhere, the audience has been somewhat primed for you, and in such a loving kind of honored way; it’s a little overwhelming because often if I give a reading, I arrive in a city where no one knows me, and hardly anyone’s there. And so it’s been a real treat all day today. I work as a cabinetmaker and I don’t get to talk about poetry much. I teach on occasion. So it was a real pleasure to be among writers today and talking about poetry and talking in a way where I didn’t have to check myself. You know, because people are like, “Alright. Yep. OK. Poetry, we know.” And that’s fine, I get it. So it was a treat today. Thank you all very much for having me.

So, I’m just gonna keep talking, though. So anyway, I want to thank Leslie, of course, for having me and making me feel so welcome and at home. And I want to thank the Visual Arts Center, too, for also having me. Being a cabinetmaker, it’s the perfect place, in my opinion, to read poems—in a place where people are busy making things. And for a shop, it’s very clean, you know? I see this specific mess that I love. But thank you for having me here; it’s a real honor.

I’m going to read a new poem, partly because in our craft talk today we were talking about the difficulties sometimes we have in writing poems, and so as an expression of faith in us, and something brand new, I’m just going to read an early draft. But I love it, and it helps me to keep going, so I’d like to share it with you. It’s for my father’s eightieth birthday, and one thing to know is bull-leapers started in Crete, I think, four thousand years ago. It still happens today—you can see it on YouTube—where a man runs towards a charging bull and right at the moment when they meet, the man leaps in the air and escapes or else is maimed. And this still happens. Just things to know. Here it is.

The Bull Leaper’s Birthday

Leaping over the bull in the Bronze Age
My father was so young so
Quick flipping over the horns
In the dust of his island.
Now almost eighty years old
He lies on the sofa and rests
And we speak of the lilies
And the smoke trees of his garden.
I don’t ask about the bulls,
The passage of almost 4000 years,
The scars from his work
But we talk and we laugh.
My sisters float through the room
Checking on him kissing us
My niece and my mother also
For that is how it is—
When you are in luck
Flying over what comes at you
To kill you and you flick
Your life through the air like a bird.

I’m going to read a poem from The Cabinetmaker’s Window. I’m going to be brief by the way. I love poetry but a little goes a long way I find. If I look at my phone it’s to look at the time, I’m not checking my email. I just don’t want to go over, and I hate when we do that. It happens. OK, so this is a poem—doesn’t need a whole lot of introduction—I think it’s a really common kind of poem where someone is standing beside a road near a dead animal. It seems to be twentieth century, or, we’re in the twenty-first, but a very common way for a poem to happen.

This is called “Thank You Lord for the Dark Ablaze—”

And that’s also the first line, so I’m gonna say it again.

Thank You Lord for the Dark Ablaze—

For the deer gut busted open splayed
on the gravel margin of the highway
to remind me and to horrify which are
the same when death comes to say
anything for dying is a song the body
is learning so thank you lord for this
enduring whir of days we ride the way
a chisel carves down deep as it glides
for being is a lathe and we are the turning
curving shape of what I come to praise
so thank you Lord for the edge of light
when the day is honed and all is bright
behind the eyes just before waking for
dream is a fire we are the lake of—
dream is the spire we are the church
of—and the days turn so fast meaning
rattles hard and nearly breaks off—so
thank you lord for what arrives today
crashing down without a warning like
a pick-up truck on the deer this morning
or the morning light lashing me while
the sun flickers churning through the trees
like a wheel splashing rays on the redbud
dappling this holy thing I stand beneath
and I stand beneath and that is all, for
green is the mind of the spring returning
and dying a song the body is learning
which I will not sing or step to although
every day—oh—that is exactly what I do.

Well, I’d like to read something of Leslie’s today. I like to read something of someone else’s at every reading. But particularly today and here, I’d like to read a poem by Leslie Shiel, who was my first poetry teacher. I was a student at VCU here and I’d fallen in love [with poetry] before and elsewhere, but I didn’t know what to do with it. I didn’t know how to speak of it. I didn’t know hardly anything except the urge that I had to follow, which brought me here. And I learned so much here, from Leslie and from all the poets here. It was such a lucky accident to find myself here. Because here I am today. It’s amazing how these things can work.

This is a poem by Leslie called “Knots.”

The epigraph is “for my grandmother Elvira Zeni Comandella.”

She takes my tangled necklaces on-
to her lap and with a straight pin
works the knots,
then places gold on lilac towels by dishes
damp on the counter. Her beads,
clear glass,
the tarnished cross well-worn, now hang on my
blue nail. Her missal, full
and black, recedes
to backs of shelves, instead of daily turned
in shaking hands. The holy
cards inside
are still. Oh how those saints were prayed to,
the corners bent and frayed. What words
did she—
still young—use to speak her grief? Which saint
spoke back about the son
who died? Sixteen.
He drove and broke his neck. I’m pregnant, afraid,
and dreaming her,
another woman’s voice
on death, and birth. Go on, she says, be strong.
The saints stay put
in pictures in her book.
Instead, she comes alone, untangles fears
that no one else can see,
then lays them out.

I love the phrase “then lays them out,” the way also a prizefighter would do.

Alright, I’m going to read now a poem that comes from there, in a way, in subject. My wife Kathleen is here and I don’t mean to embarrass her, but we’ve been together really since we were teenagers, so I thought I knew who she was, until we had a baby—she has the baby. And then I couldn’t believe it. And then I was like “Oh my God, I can’t believe this.” I witnessed it; I saw what happened, but, you know, I couldn’t believe this has been going on for thousands of years, and I just . . . it’s a real thinker. I’m still in awe of it, and so if you’re in awe of things you should write poems. So that’s what I’ve done here.

This is called “Witness to the Work.”

If I could knock a house down with my crotch or pull a train
cross country with a little string tied to my cock well then
that would be something. Not much, but at least something.

If I could breathe in sharply now and swallow the Western half
of Portugal with its bright umbrellas and pointy cathedrals
and its statues of Fernando Pessoa it might be the same.

If I could just think of the pain I would fall over like a lettuce
As it is, a great and growing awe comes between us now
and we do not speak of it. Months pass. More months.

She cries out suddenly and her cries are deep like nothing
I’ve ever heard and the car zigzags and we are there.
Then the hours pass filled with a difficult kind of grace.

And she pushes that baby out of her and the baby finally
says OK and galumph, just like that, this lump of breath
falls into the world and is lifted to her mother’s breast.

And she is crying and people are snipping and cutting, saying
Oh isn’t she, isn’t she and the room is spinning hard
and this spinning spins the earth and the earth spins faster

And I always thought that life was like a blue donkey
named Disaster that we ride to death and whisper to.
Now I know. It is this bloody holy work the mothers do.

I’m going to read a poem from something we talked about today. I ended up writing a book about Abraham Lincoln not knowing why but doing it, a book of poems. And I called it to myself kind of a little magical biography of Abraham Lincoln, which I mentioned to a friend of mine at work and he said, “You mean you’re making it up.” I said, “That’s right.” I wrote whole bunches of them, there were like nearly three hundred of them, but I’ve kept forty-five in a book, and I’d like to read a few of them.

The first I’ll read is called “The Coin.” It concerns his son Robert who is the only one of his children who made it into the twentieth century, who was given in 1909—when the Lincoln penny was first issued—was handed the penny. He was the secretary of war under Garfield and Arthur. He was quite the powerful man in his life. He was an enormous success, and he was present in 1922 when the Lincoln memorial was dedicated. There’s a beautiful photograph of him at the memorial—where you don’t see a lot of candid shots, it seems to me, from the 1920s—where he’s sitting in this marsh with all these chairs, dignitaries around, and he’s looking over his shoulder. He’s an old man looking over his shoulder and that’s all it is. It’s a beautiful shot, though, that it’s Abraham Lincoln’s son at the memorial. Anyway, I’m not interested in Abraham Lincoln or anyone, except as a person, so that was my intent to write these poems. To get to, get at someone that I might know or love. So this is a poem that takes place in 1909.

It’s called “The Coin.”

The only souvenir
Robert clung to

was a copper penny
from the first minting

In 1909 where his
father’s face gazed

in profile on one side—
dark sheaves of wheat

on the other—which was
presented to him by

President Taft one day
on the rainy high

steps of the Treasury.
Every morning the coin

was exchanged from
watch pocket to watch

pocket as he fumbled
into the day’s new suit.

Sometimes in the middle
of dinner, surrounded

by ambassadors and high
ranking assistants to

the various deputies of
the War Department,

he would reach quietly
for the coin to graze

the outline of the face
with his thumb. Sometimes

the difference between
the official coin of the realm

and his father’s scraggly
black beard was too much,

and for days and weeks
he would not look there,

although in loneliness four
times he swallowed it,

passed it, found it, and
placed it again into his pocket.

Once in Philadelphia he
lost it and back-tracked

the streets until dawn
with a lantern looking

down until he found it
shining in the deep groove

between two cobble
stones on Mercer Street.

He talked to it in the dark
of February as if it could

understand his longing,
and when Robert died,

this miniature portrait,
worth so little, was tucked

into his hand. It was just
enough to pay the man

who runs the rickety ferry
that crosses the Potomac

twice a day even today
to Arlington Cemetery.

He is buried in Arlington Cemetery. The rest of his family is in Illinois.

I’m going to keep with this book. This is just a moment from his [Abraham Lincoln’s] life. It’s called “The Cemetery.” This happened in Gettysburg, just before he gives his address.

The Cemetery

He could feel his pinky toe
push through the hole
in his sock, and a rash form
on his neck.

He saw a hawk falling from
a locust nearby, heard
a steam train cry far off.
He smelled the citrus

perfumes of the dignitaries
mixing with sweat.
Mostly though he listened
and bowed.

Not far below him under-
ground the leg bone of a boy
from Ohio, buckles, teeth,
and rounds.

At the new cemetery
in Pennsylvania he waited
to speak, the low clouds
like the ceiling

of a church about to be
torn down or replaced
with light, the crowd

angry and somber,

slowly pressing in,
the appointed speaker
talking too much
of Rome on and on

beside the bones of
the young laid down
before him. He sensed a hair
on his tongue, fiddled

with his ear a moment,
and then rose to speak
while the sky cleared
and still continues

to clear— the blues
of the sky a consecration,
a testimony for this
new church founded

in Gettysburg, in hope
and two hundred and seventy-
two words shouted
over muddy earth.

We talked a good bit today about writers kind of living in jeopardy, at times or at all times, and it does seem that it’s always true for us historically perhaps, but I can feel it now; it seems that jeopardy feels very real.

Let’s have a few more. So yeah, I have a poem here called “Questions I Ask Death, Questions Death Asks Me.” In the beginning of the poem, the speaker, me, I’m asking the questions, and then later it switches, and hopefully it’s clear when it happens.

Questions I Ask Death, Questions Death Asks Me

Why do you come around here all the time?
Because the apple trees are bent down low

with fruit and I am hunting like the bee.
What are you looking for? A ribbon from

my mother's hair when she was only three.
I look in all the robins' nests and I ask

the centipede. What is your real name? James
Edward Smuff the Third, Esquire. Viceroy of

the Cold and the Cobra's Eye, Duke of Blades,
Bullets and Lord of What Is Broken in the Mind.

Why do you ask? Because my questions are like
knives and I like waving them in your face.

What are you afraid of exactly? The motionlessness
of photographs, the quiet of the fair when all

the rides are packed on trucks and pull away
slowly, the sleeping of the bee and honey

freezing in the hive when winter comes, winter,
certain snakes, the suffering of those I love.

I could go on. What are your dreams? To live
beyond the days I love and carry you here

on my shoulder. To show you this red ribbon
I found. To fly. To peacefully grow older.

So I do work in a cabinet shop, and this is the first poem in the book, and someone once said to me, “that’s a weird choice for the first poem. It doesn’t seem—” anyway. It is a poem written— I’ve worked at this cabinet shop since I was a teenager, and I’m fifty-two now. So I’ve been there a long time and a lot of other people have, too. And it’s the smell of the place, and the smells of the place are how I know it. So I wanted to write about this place with that in mind. Because I think for all of us that the smell of home is particular, or of childhood—is particular. It’s sometimes hard to get across, but is undeniable for our understanding that I am there or not. So. “Sometimes There’s A Shit Smell Everywhere.” That’s the title and that’s the first line.

Sometimes There’s A Shit Smell Everywhere

When a breeze catches fumes rising from a crack
in the septic and hoo-ee we say who was that.
Sometimes skunks fight under the floorboards

at night and when you walk in—in the morning
you begin to reek of it and by the end of the day
you are fouled with that deep musk of skunk.

And sometimes sanding a small eucalyptus box
made in China 100 years ago the astringency of
the medicine tree fills the barn and clears your head.

We cook chicken and beans, venison stew and corn
bread and sausage and Bill’s wife sent him to work
today with three shrimps covered in coconut sauce.

But mostly it is coffee in the air or the peppery
sharp odor of sawn walnut that smells purple.
Mahogany dust has little claws that tear your eyes

and grip at your inside and sometimes we get what
is called ass-pine which stinks when you cut it
and you have to run away a little and say damn.

But since I was a boy it is another smell—the ordinary
fragrance of this place like the pews of a chapel,
something sober and holy despite the cat piss or

all of the things we say. It smells like light mostly,
what stained glass looks like—like a story being told.
The one where you live in one place until you die.

Ok, I’m going to read two more, then I’ll close.

We live in a town called Summerpoint, West Virginia, and there’s a big orchard right behind our town where we wander through and—Have you ever wandered. . . any people here ever wandered through orchards in their lives? Yeah. It’s a really lovely feeling, like nature has become orderly in some way, but then it resisted as well as things happened. So this is just a small poem about a living thing that I may have invented, called, “The West Virginia Copper-Wing.”

An apple falls through the branches of the tree
and a green snake rises up flying
with little wings iridescent

as the evening begins in the orchard
on the edge of town. Three deer
whisper grazing in the lane.

You could be eleven or twelve
standing with a stillness you have
never before known, a halo

of gnats around your head and this
could be any year in recorded history
of human life. No one

ever exactly remembers this moment
or the next. We find ourselves
in a royal pause and then we go on

asking what’s next. We fall
towards sorrow and we forget.
Someone captures the miraculous

green snake with a net—
pins it to a board. Someone
sharpens a knife at the center

of the earth and it sounds like a wheel.
Houses appear. Thousands
of windows twinkle suddenly in

the settling dark. Stillness,
which was the god of being
eleven or twelve on the edge of town

just before someone you love
calls you home and home being
the god of this place, disappears.

All of it disappears and you are left
lost in the majestic green clockwork
that is next.

I want to read the poem that I think got me here, that poem in Tracy Smith’s anthology called “For the Last American Buffalo.” I wanted to read that before I left, so I’m going to. I’m not sure how to preface this except that writing long enough, or doing the thing that you love long enough and with a great degree of happiness even though there’s struggle, sometimes rewards you with a sense of everlastingness. It’s fleeting perhaps there then, but it’s there. And has been there. I feel that way, that I have an imagination like you do, and I can’t help but use it. And so far it’s always there for me, like a beloved, to help you through. I don’t know why I’m a writer except maybe that. The simple companionship of something mysterious like language, that I don’t even know what’s coming but here it comes. And it’s like a dream. And I find that feeling to be wonderful. And so I think this poem is trying to speak to that a little bit. “For the Last American Buffalo.” A friend of mine was a photographer; he was Richard Sherman, and he took a haunting picture of a buffalo.

For the Last American Buffalo

Because words dazzle in the dizzy light of things
and the soul is like an animal–hunted and slow–
this buffalo walks through me every night as if I was
some kind of prairie and hunkers against the cold dark,
snorting under the stars while the fog of its breathing
rises in the air, and it is the loneliest feeling I know
to approach it slowly with my hand outstretched
to tenderly touch the heavy skull furred and rough
and stroke that place huge between its ears where
what I think and what it thinks are one singing thing
so quiet that, when I wake, I seldom remember
walking beside it and whispering in its ear quietly
passing the miles, the two of us, as if Cheyenne or
the lights of San Francisco were our unlikely destination
and sometimes trains pass us and no one leans out hard
in the dark aiming to end us and so we continue on
somehow and today while the seismic quietness of
the earth spun beneath my feet and while the world
I guess carried on, that lumbering thing moved heavy
thick and dark through the dreams I believe we keep
having whether we sleep or not and when you see it
again say I’m sorry for things you didn’t do and
then offer it some sweet-grass and tell it stories
you remember from the star-chamber of the womb
or at least the latest joke, something good to keep it
company as otherwise it doesn’t know you are here
for love, and like the world tonight, doesn’t really
care whether we live or die. Tell it you do and why.

Thank you all very much. Thank you.

Can I read one more? Alright. See, I’m doing exactly the thing someone should come here and tackle me for. I may not, so if I don’t I do want to thank you now for having me. I’m going to see how I feel from the looks on your faces. This is also a new poem. It commemorates something—my family used to go to this huge hotel in Pennsylvania, and one day I saw a raspberry growing from the top of—a raspberry cane growing from a crotch of a maple tree way up high, and it was coming down and growing down to me, and I thought it was beautiful. But the hotel—this isn’t in the poem—and the poem’s not finished, but I want you to know the hotel burned down. It was a hundred and fifty years old. It’s gone. And so I had stolen from there, once, a coffee cup, so all we have is this coffee cup. But also now I have this poem, so I have these two things from this place that are very important.

The Jewel

The raspberry cane rises
Up and falls over
From the dirt
In the lap of two branches
Of a maple tree
Thirty feet above me
And the cane reaches down
Its long arm to me
Enough I may pull
The fat ruby from its pale
Green finger and pluck it
Into my mouth.
How did it happen
That the vine rooted
So high up in the tree?
How did it happen
That the berry came
Down to me
In the garden of the hotel
In Cambridge Springs
Where I am only passing
Through in delight
Of this day?
How did it happen
You ask
Looking around.
How does it happen
The thief gets away
With his life?

Thank you.

Leslie Shiel: I just really just want to thank all of you for being here, and Steve, thank you so much. Thank you to Jordan Brown, the director of education here who, behind the scenes, made so much of this happen too. Thank you.  

The poems as read in the event may vary from the print originals used as a reference to set this page.

return to top