After the sculpture by Cleber “Lobo” Machado.
Angels, all pistons and ironwork,
descending a ladder in unison — it is 4,000 A.D.
and distinctions between persons trouble
and fade, as, on the way up, one learned
to make distinctions, what it means
Once, we dreamed of ladders ornamented
with ivory feet, with mother-of-pearl,
with tortoise-shell, inlaid with stone. “And perhaps too
the practitioner of virtue represents his own life as like to
Tonight cats gather about a ladder, waiting
for the one who feeds them, howling
at blackening concrete. And perhaps she does not answer,
having fallen down the stairs, pushed, as some soul, sharp
as diamond, shattered, been caused to shatter, as glass held
to a tone may for a moment glow and then, after a moment,
Or many will excavate such stairs, wonder at them,
until they tire before a senescent star; perhaps
you once walked this ladder, you will think, strangely, strange
to yourself, falling into rest and coming only uneasily into
Damon Stanley lives in Columbus, Ohio and has a website at damonstanley.com.