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Ladders (Product Warning)

It is not advised

that you attempt

an additional step

after reaching the top

of this stepladder.

People have been known to do so

and stumbled,

landing on the moon.

Others have been attacked

by particularly territorial

and predatory flocks of clouds.

Still others have taken this ill-advised step

and found themselves mysteriously

enlisted in a V formation of Canadian geese;

and, almost before they knew it,

were stranded in the Caribbean

without a passport

or even a Cayman Islands bank account

and suffering from extremely sore arms.

Spitwad Hall of Fame

Here's the one that hit the teacher

when his back was turned at the blackboard.

Here's the one that changed

a potential girlfriend's mind

about going out with you.

Here's the one with Elvis's profile.

Here's the largest one in existence.

Here's the smallest.

Here's the exit

for those who came in

by mistake.

The Ghostly Barber Shop

Since hair is rumored to grow after death,

there is also said to be

a certain barber shop

where, after midnight,

the dead congregate for a trim.

The barber, cold fingers still

fastened to his clippers,

emerges from sleep in the mirror

and takes them in order

each number came up.

Hair dissolves like fog

as it touches the linoleum floor.

Before daylight, these return to their graves,

bringing the good news of a new image

to their particular bodies.

In the dark, they embrace

who they used to be.

Duane Ackerson's poetry has appeared in Rolling Stone, Yankee, Prairie Schooner, The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, Cloudbank, alba, Starline, Dreams & Nightmares, and several hundred other places. He has won two Rhysling awards and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives in Salem, Oregon. You can find more of his work in our archives.
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