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Ladder against a House


ISSUE:  Summer 2007

So someone climbed it. But now
it’s dark. Now it’s neither street
nor curb, sidewalk or
yard, neither weed nor grass.
But this thin outline,
ladder against house, trace
of the will to go up or
no, earth is
the welcoming place. I’m walking by.
Or imagining I walked here.
And stopped to see it’s not
an invitation, no lit window
hovering to receive it, nothing
at this hour to be bolted
or scraped or primed or
painted. It might be
wood, once a pine in a narrowing
swatch of pines. And for the rungs,
oak, how one stood
years, slowly shifting into the great arc
of its falling. Summer. There was
such a leaf stained
by the next leaf, cooler in those
woods, men shouting to be
heard over the blistering
racket of their saws.
I’d climb higher. But the tree’s
lost all contact with its story.
That’s the thing
about transformation. There are
worse fates, it did not
even vaguely say to itself.

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