Pat Jones

Where All the Ladders Start

by Catherine Chandler

I visited her shop this afternoon
to rummage through the clutter and the schlock.
As usual, old tins and jars were strewn
pell-mell across the floor. “I’m out of stock
in dancing bears,” she yammered, “but I’ve got
a thousand smithereens up on the shelf.
I’ll take a shiny penny for the lot.”
I knew I’d have to fetch them for myself;
and yet, the price was right. I filled my bags
with broken glass, with beads and brittle bones;
then for good measure, reams of tattered rags,
a rusty can, a box of sticks and stones:
the rudiments of memory and art;
the poems howling from my shopping cart.

Currently a resident of St. Lazare, Quebec, Catherine Chandler has lectured in Spanish at McGill’s Department of Translation Studies and Concordia University's Language Institute. Her poems and translations have been widely published in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. She is the author of For No Good Reason (Olive Press, 2008).