The Pole-Vaulters
Lee Stern



I wonder if I can stay here until it's light outside.

And the pole-vaulters are no longer bothering people.

They were here all day, weren't they?

And they were placing their poles up against the limits of your time.

Somebody gave them permission to do it, I guess.

But under whose authority and whose watch?

In which book was it written

that these pole-vaulters were no longer capable

even of communing. Or commuting from your pile of feathers

to what used to be theirs in a different era.

And, sure, I know you're busy.

And you don't have time for my questions.

But if there were a pole-vaulters union?

Who do you think would have given them the permission to form it?

The people with the orchestra?

Or the people chained to the edge of a jagged rock,

who, when the sky descended,

brought hope to a world full of clouds?





Lee Stern lives in Los Angeles. He writes one poem in the morning between 7 and 8. And then takes the rest of the day off.