How does he get off it before the skies combust in a bloom of fire?
Has there been anything more difficult to comprehend?
There may be situations like this. Or worse,
or easier. It depends.
He is either beside himself with terror,
or beside himself with something else:
joy, longing, sorrow. A pounding in his chest.
Or he is simply beside himself,
quietly regarding the situation.
Or thinking of another riddle—
Is this the way an angel might feel
on the head of a pin?
It is a long slide to the bottom.
It might be a quicker fall.
We are not told if he is wearing a robe,
saffron colored, which he might
spread open like a sail.
His pockets, if he has pockets,
may or may not have a ball
of emergency twine, some wax,
a smear of honey, a feather duster
picked up in previous travels.
From that height, sounds carry
with a difference in textures—
Commuter traffic, domestic arguments,
commerce in the marketplace.
How long before someone will say
finally, Look, there’s someone
on top of that pole?
Get the police. Get the first
responders. How did he get up there
in the first place?
(Reminder: he first appeared in this parable.)
Autumn foliage across the parks,
blazing its message of beautiful wreckage—
as he sits and contemplates the ladders
for his return or escape.