Here is the white ladder,Here is the white ladder,
though gone are the feet
that wore the boots,
and the boots that wore the rungs,
on wet mornings
on a green copper roof.
Gone are the sailors and their wives,
both married to the same sea;
a transitive sort of communion.
Gone is the paperboy and his headlines
bounced around corners and off of cobblestones.
Gone are the fishmongers, shouting at the gulls,
and gone are the chimney sweeps with their black wire brushes.
Gone are the cobblers, the coopers and the coachmen.
Gone are the coaches for that matter.
The docks aren't gone yet, but they're going,
the way the old schoolhouses and paper mills went.
And gone, now, is the moon,
the smell of coffee and the heat off the griddle.
The owl from outside my window is gone,
but he'll be back,
though I'm not sure about the bags that showed up yesterday.
They too are gone.
But here is the white ladder --
the one you asked me to find
before the phone rang;
there's grease worn into the wood
where the paint chipped