Hoof and Ladder

Hoof and LadderI saw him while driving, a man on foot, walking down the grassy lane
between two strips of interstate, with a ladder on his arm. The image haunts me to this day.

Who was he? A hitchhiker waiting
for a ride on a sympathetic fire engine? A vagabond moving from wall to wall?

Or was he a man on a journey,
traipsing the nation’s highways
in search of some elusive high rise,
a solid place to rest his weary rungs.

I often think of finding him
and buying him a pick,
a rope, a backpack filled with gear.

If he needed something to ascend,
mountains, I believe, are better than walls, more rustic, more scenic, more pleasing to overcome,
but I suppose a wall beats nothing.

Better to lug a ladder than to drag around a shovel looking for somewhere to dig a hole, waiting for the bombs to fall.

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