Ladder to the Moon
for Georgia O’Keeffe
When it’s time, you’ll know.
You’ll see it hanging in front of you
as if it had always been there,
a hand-made wooden ladder
above night-blackened red desert hills,
its bottom rung too high to even jump for,
top rung reaching nothing
save the space between earth sand and moon soil.
And somewhere past this desert,
past every thing,
strains a music of cinder blocks,
choirs of cranes and car horns,
and towers in New York
reverberating a struggle
to reach only higher than they can.
If you can just see what is here,
then maybe a ladder will fall within your reach,
maybe it will carry you up
to touch and stand on a moon of your own,
to look down on towers of concrete, steel, and glass
that seem so small from there.
© Shawn Pavey, 2019
“Grisly, foul, and terrific
is the speech of bones”
— Donald Hall
Brittle and dry,
white and empty
of marrow – bones
cook in a desert sun.
Molecules in the heat
crack wide open,
atoms spill out onto sand
a fine powder once alive.
Vestige of frame,
purpose of structure,
crumbles and flakes
layer after layer.
Over what was once coyote, wind
thunders through skull cavities,
howls a vox phasmatis.
© 2011, Shawn Pavey
Previously published in Cant.