Home > Poetry > Ladder
Published: Wed Oct 15 2008
Wosene Worke Kosrof, The Inventor V (detail), 2022, acrylic on linen. Courtesy of Sullivan Goss Gallery, Santa Barbara, California

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;
at the point of balance,
the crash
that will keep
its secret—our secret—
safe, memory
still going
after breath
has escaped.

See what's inside AGNI 68

John Kinsella’s new book of stories, Pantheism, is forthcoming in Australia in late 2020; his new book of poetry, Insomnia, is forthcoming from W. W. Norton next year also. His critical book Polysituatedness was published by Manchester University Press in 2016. His Activist Poetics: Anarchy in the Avon Valley was published in 2010 by Liverpool University Press. He is a fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University, and professor of literature and environment at Curtin University, Western Australia. (updated 9/2019)

Kinsella’s Peripheral Light: Selected and New Poems was reviewed in AGNI Online by Eric McHenry

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