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The Ladder, a poem by Terry Ofner

The Ladder
by Terry Ofner
I stand
the ladder in the soft soil
of the perennial bed, climb
up like a thief of nests, and pull
a perfect egg of twigs, leaves,
and seeds from the mouth
of the plugged downspout.

I lean
to the left to steady the ladder
that lists slightly to the right
under my weight. I feel like
a child canceling differences
between parents somewhere
off the emotional balance sheet.

I perch
up there a minute after pulling the plug
and watch the giddy water laugh
down the aluminum passage
to the side yard. It musters there
with other waters, planning invasions
of low places in the neighborhood.

I leave
the ladder in the bed—a creaky apparatus,
no substitute for wings—but for certain jobs
it does just fine. Irises at its feet
speak in purple tongues, toasting
each other for their part in releasing
the long-stopped waters of spring.

Bio: Terry Ofner grew up in Iowa not far from the Mississippi River. He holds degrees from the University of Iowa, where he attended the undergraduate Iowa Writer's Workshop in poetry. He is currently an editor for an educational publishing company. He has published poems in World Order, 100 Words, Eclectica, and Right Hand Pointing. His poem "Mama Carving" won first place in the Interboard Poetry Community Contest, January 2015 (Ned Balbo, judge). He is drawn to themes of nature and family and is working on his first collection of poems.