Leaf-muck on the one hand,
a great view on the other.
All things being equal
I like it up here where the air
is clearer, and my thoughts
are clearer, and this old
ladder creaks and sways
under me like a boat, my son text messaging his girlfriend
with two thumbs and a foot
on the bottom rung. My anchor.
I can almost see his mother
clear across New England (God bless her) in her own house now
with her own leaf-muck clogging
her downspouts and gutters.
As Rainer Maria Rilke says,
you can’t lean a ladder up
against another ladder
just because you’re in love and want to make something out of it.
What you need is a solitude
as big as a house to sit in
the middle. But we were young and in love and in a hurry and we
took a running start — all of the doors
in the house flinging open as we flew
through it and out toward each other,
my ladder in my hands and her
ladder in her hands… And we
kind of mucked it up on the one hand,
but on the other we ended up with
these two solitudes in autumn
and this son with a cell phone
calling up to me now, asking me what
it’s like up here, wanting to have a turn.