Carrying a Ladder

By Kay Ryan b. 1945 Kay Ryan
We are always
really carrying
a ladder, but it’s
invisible. We
only know
something’s
the matter:
something precious
crashes; easy doors
prove impassable.
Or, in the body,
there’s too much
swing or off-
center gravity.
And, in the mind,
a drunken capacity,
access to out-of-range
apples. As though
one had a way to climb
out of the damage
and apology.

Kay Ryan, “Carrying a Ladder” from The Niagara River.  Copyright © 2005 by Kay Ryan.  Reprinted with the permission of Grove/Atlantic, Inc.  All rights reserved. Caution: Users are warned that this work is protected under copyright laws and downloading is strictly prohibited. The right to reproduce or transfer the work via any medium must be secured with Grove/Atlantic, Inc.

Source: Poetry (April 2004).

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2004 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2004
 Kay  Ryan

Biography

Born in California in 1945 and acknowledged as one of the most original voices in the contemporary landscape, Kay Ryan is the author of several books of poetry, including Flamingo Watching (2006), The Niagara River (2005), and Say Uncle (2000). Her book The Best of It: New and Selected Poems (2010) won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Ryan's tightly compressed, rhythmically dense poetry is often compared to that of Emily . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, Social Commentaries, Life Choices

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

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