Escape Ladder

All I wanted to do when I got home was to sit on the roof

On the peak of the slanted roof, like a cat

And smoke a cigarette

Or read poetry.

To sit on the level of the trees and look up at the wide empty sky

Like on the steppes of Wyoming where there was nothing but the blank blue above


A change of scenery would do me good. Something different.


I would carry the ladder to the edge of the roof and clamber up the rungs

A dangerous job with no one below to steady the ladder.

It might fall, I could misstep and tumble down from the peaked ledge

And crash into the concrete below. It might not

be so bad. My spine would break, or my head split open and bleed all over

the dull grey of the driveway. Mother would see me in the mirror when she backed

in from her errand.

What a way to discover the death of your child.


I searched for the key to the shed where the ladder rested.

I looked all through the gourd of broken useless objects, coins and keys.

I found it! I would carry – more likely drag – the heavy steel ladder fifty feet or more from the old shed in the back

And ascend to the shelter of the rooftop.


Happily I skittered down to the tool shed – wrong key.

Tonight I guess I won’t converse with the trees.

Maybe I’m just tired.

The End

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