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The Ladders

 There is a man

Sitting cross legged and sore

Surrounded by ladders. 

Dust is his relative. 

Familiar and cool

Against him. Low. 

Grabs a cool handful

Spill it from fingers to palm.

Breathes the smoke of it.

Mesmerized by dust. 

And he looks up for a moment. 

Eyes fasten on one of the ladders.

With his eyes, he follows the path

Upward rung by rung. 

Until the ladder is lost in the clouds

Leaving him dizzied.

And the bright sapphire sky

Stings his eyes closed

And he looks back down. 

Soothes his eyes in salve

Of dust -- the muted hues.

And there are ladders

Long and disappearing

All around him. Thousands. 

And he sits in dust. 

Confused. Smoke of dust

Curling in the back of his throat.

His brain is broken. Synapses

Muffled by dust and grime. 

Brow furrows. What are

Ladders? Too high, and 

Make him too dizzy. The

Multitude of their rungs

Are teeming and the fingers

Of his mind are too weak

To hold them. Mind so sluggish

He can’t even ask the questions. 

He takes mouthfuls of dust

To subdue his agitation,

Slowly chewing the grit and mud

Eyes docile as a cow. 

But something is happening. 

Something you can’t see. 

He’s grown tired of dust,

The years of dust, the dust of years. 

And the tiniest whisper, 

The tiniest echo 

The tiniest ripple

The tiniest seed 

An embryo

Is stretching


Tiny as a feather-ruffle

In the breeze.

And when

That question

Is born,

He will stand.

He will tear his eyes

Away from the dust

Like the sound

Of a knife ripping

Through canvas. 

And he will climb.

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