Floating Ladders4
By Vincent Joseph Noto

Interwoven in gray
a clouded sky
looms,
a distant fog lingers,
we’re on our way
past the apricot
orchards
to the chicken house
to buy eggs.
As we stroll down El Vecino
my brother, Jesse,
tries to put his arm
around me.
I recoil, I guess
I’m at that age
now I regret it.

The apricot orchards
and the henhouse
soon disappear.
This thread,
our time together,
is cut short,
but the tract homes,
onset of mad yet orderly
suburban sprawl,
will have pairs of
apricot trees
in their front yards
for years to come.

My sister and I
wander through
the construction.
We and the Adams sisters
play house
in wall-less rooms—
barbarians in the ruins.

Later,
I ride the forest-green
Schwinn® ten-speed
I spent my hard-earned savings on
when I was in the sixth grade—
to fetch some eggs
from Alpha-Beta® Market;
I promised my mother and sister
they wouldn’t break
but, on Multnomah,
a car pulls out
of a driveway
as I pass by.

I and the eggs
tumble over.
The woman is kind
enough.
I pull the chain
back over the gears
as she apologizes,
certainly
it could have been worse,
but I’m only upset
about the eggs
and ride home
with three of them
broken.

First appeared in Spot Lit(erary) Magazine.

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