Jacobs Ladder

Jacobs Ladder

Judith Anne Skillman

 

I see several plants in astigmatism--

points of phlox and star.

I have phobias of height and closed-in places.

 

There will be no reprieve for my mother,

the bearded woman,

and none for my father,

 

who wore a bell-shaped petal on his sleeve.

He was only counting to supplant

his older brother, Jake.  His numbers,

 

infinitesimally small, return each August

as Jacobs Ladder draws in

its browns, whispers like chimes

 

whose music has its own way of dying--

pulling back, pining for dominance, or closure.

The burning bush turns bright

 

even if red is due to drought. 

Each autumn brings its own peculiar

complications.  No asphodel

 

will be left alive,

no son seized by the heel,

determined to sacrifice his son as proof of loyalty.

 

Only the elements remain—iron, sulphur, tin.

Slightly blued under the alchemy of dawn,

the last radicals left on earth.

 

Leaves gone wooden,

they steel themselves for another climb

away from and toward.

 

 

 

 

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2009 Women in Judaism, Inc.

 

 



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