King of the Mountain

You climb me
as if I were a ladder,
each rung as sturdy as a child’s bone
angled to unnatural position,

accommodating the weight and brunt of you.
You climb me laboriously,
red-faced and salt-sweaty
panting with fevered eyes.

At night in my dreams
my bare feet perch sure-footed on Jacob’s ladder,
a ladder of a different sort
reaching past your foul gropings
and verbal sewage;

in my dreams I am not afraid of heights
nor of the arrows that fly by day,
nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness.

At night, in my dream-sodden sleep,
I am a pure child of God
whose heart beats ever stronger
with each cloud I pass through, with each brush of angels’ wings
tickling my cheekbone
on my way to my trysting place of old.

It is only when I am earthbound once more
that my heart cries out in anguish:

Oh sweet Ancient of Days,
break the rungs of my entrapment
make of me a better something
than a receptacle for clumsy work-boots,

and feet which had no business
trampling my mattress
in the first place.


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