Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Still Life with Ladder

Today, the sky saved my life
caught between smoked rum and cornflower.
Today, there is a color I can’t name cruising past

the backdoor – it is the idea of color.
Cloudscapes evaporate like love songs
across lost islands, each a small bit coin of thought.

Today, I am alive and this is a good thing—

clams in the half shell, a lemon rosemary tart.
I live in the day and the day lives past me.
If I could draw a map of the hours, a long

horizon would travel on indefinitely ~ a green, backlit thread.

The sky? It is never the same – it is sour milk
and whipped cream, a sketchbook and flour-dusted jeans.
Today, I am in love with the sky.

It doesn’t care if my father is dead,
or that I live by myself with his Masonic watch.
I sew time with my mother’s button jar.

I’ve improvised my life ~ let the sky pull the strings.

Tonight, I will borrow the golden ladder from the orchard,
travel from this sphere into the next and expunge
the leftover sadness of the hemispheres, to move beyond

the beyond which is here, present, alive in this hyacinth room;

time leaps over itself, after and out of the tangled past
over shadows of weather falling across a back window~
to forgive one another; to try once more to live it right.

Credit


Copyright © 2011 Susan Rich. “Still Life with Ladder” originally appeared in Quiddity. Used with permission of the author.

Author


Susan Rich

Susan Rich is the author of Cloud Pharmacy (White Pine Press, 2014).

Date Published: 2018-11-26

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/still-life-ladder