Jacob's Ladder
by Ann E. Kottner

Look! Six months later
on a cold, almost-spring night
when the air holds breath like smoke,
two lances of light hurl themselves heavenward,
up and up
taller than the buildings whose absence they mark,
rising as those too too solid bodies fell,
converging finally to smash themselves as one
against the high and misty confines of earth.
"You can't see anything from here,"
the woman beside me on the corner says.
I turn to show her, shake her
As I am shaken, weeping
as I walk through the park
seeing that light
behind where the Flatiron's prow cleaves way from way,
But she has already turned away, unseeing.
Still the light rises regardless, scattering itself against the field of stars, Warning, plea, gravemarker all at once.
I arrive home and find it looming where not long ago
the exclamatory comet hung like the omen
our ancestors thought it was.
I wonder if we have come that far, no matter
our light hides greater ones from our night gaze.
Who sees it out there? And what?
Two lights stabbing upward, joining finally, filled with souls and memory
a sign, a message:

Look what's happened here.

Help us! we are lost and stupid and proud,
and we cannot climb out of our own darkness.

Help us. Make us see.