How many ladders have been descended
at the same rate of ascension?

I watched two young boys
step by step up cascading rows
at first, in beautiful synchronicity.

The bottom passes the top
causing the quick dissolve of his breath
hitting the rungs, it hurt my throat to watch.

I choke on his now
irrelevant execution,
forgotten
the other continues to reach,

I see a man high on his ladder
until two knees snap under the weight of time
nothing but his unforeseen
destination of disappointment.

My throat is bleeding
and I taste the rungs
but I still can’t help but wonder.

Iain McDonald is a junior pursuing a BFA in Photography and Video at SVA. He was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, but has found a creative home in New York City. Iain’s poem “Wyckoff Avenue” was published in the Fall 2017 issue of The Match Factory.