THE MATING SEASON FOR LADDERS

It is the mating season for ladders.
They are fighting for freedom
in the dark sheds behind
Elite Painting and Wallcovering, Inc.
Stiff-legged, they gallop across concrete,
straining towards the cobwebs
hung in narrow windows.
They dash their rungs against
walls hung with rusting tools.
A spirit level is first to fall victim
to their trampling, anti-slip shoes.
Paint buckets scuttle deep
into the shadows of their shelves,
hiding from this terrible clamor.
Yet the lowly stepstool
has just awoken
to its own keen need
wrapped in grey metal, as the ladders,
devoid of sex, flap their tool shelves
and thrust their rigid frames
against one another,
grating and screaming
in furious hopelessness.


         Jenniffer L. Lesh