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Ladder

by John Kinsella


We don’t know
the sound
tearing at the roof,
though fear
we might: enough
of the moon is up
for me to climb
and check it out:
ladder angled
against guttering,
guessing each step,
treading into emptiness
to give way, then connect,
stomach lurching.
My sight breaks
the roofline,
to eye corrugations’
dull silver glint,
to see it crouching
on the capping,
ready to pounce
or reach out, or to grab
the ladder
as it tilts back;
equivocal
at the point of balance,
the crash
that will keep
its secret—our secret—
safe, memory
still going
after breath
has escaped.

 

John Kinsella’s new volume of poetry is Divine Comedy: Journeys Through a Regional Geography (W. W. Norton, 2008). His Disclosed Poetics: Beyond Landscape and Lyricism was published in 2007 (Manchester University Press/Palgrave). (10/2008)


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