Molly Tenenbaum

Apple Ladder


Slimmer than
a lancet arch,
ascending scant,
tapering, then
just air; and lovely
leaning in trees,
lovely leaning
bare by the house,
rungs and clapboards
aligned, side rails
tense with upwardness,
the stronger across
the more the green
wood dries.

And so our grasp
of all, our reach
to gather, climb
to view, our stand
above the orchardslope
could be as lovely,
twined in leaves,
contained as ladders
in themselves,
and light
as ladderwood.

As if, though slung
with heavy sack,
we pause, don’t ache
to put it down,
or press for more,
but stand half-high,
our footings half-
obscured by grass,
at our cheeks
half-shaded curves
of fruit, above
our heads, ripe sun,
and crowns of more fruit hanging.



Molly Tenenbaum’s three poetry collections are The Cupboard Artist (recently released from Floating Bridge Press), Now (Bear Star Press, 2007) and By a Thread (Van West & Co, 2000),which includes the poem “Apple Ladder.” She is also the author of three chapbooks: Blue Willow (Floating Bridge Press 1998), Old Voile (New Michigan Press), and Story (Cash Machine, 2006). Her work appears in many journals, and her honors include a Hedgebrook residency and a 2009 Washington State Artist Trust Fellowship. She’s also a musician, playing Appalachian string band music; her CDs are Instead of a Pony and Goose & Gander.