“The Ladder” by Fred Pollack

Limited edition, hand signed, giclee print on cotton rag or bartyta_ All prints come with a certificate of authenticity. 12.8_ x 16_

Art by Kate Shaw

The joke you had to explain.

The vision that moved no one.

The pedantic tone.

The embarrassing confession

abandoned halfway. When across freshened skies

jetpacks jockey and curtsey,

and solar-powered dirigibles

preside like funny gods, you’re not invited.


It’s possible in your room

with effort to detach yourself

progressively from time

until you see it whole

for the troll it is; and at

the apogee of spirit

forgive the stucco and silence

of that room, and sleep. There’s a party.

Composites talk wittily and

with power you half-hear

though contributing fully.

Hors-d’oeuvres, urgent gossip, vivid

flickering children; you’re involved. 

And the ghost whose eager sheets

and candlelight you find

at midnight seems almost

an individual.



Fred Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS (Story Line Press), and two collections, A POVERTY OF WORDS (Prolific Press, 2015) and LANDSCAPE WITH MUTANT (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). Many other poems in print and online journals. Lives in Washington, DC.

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