Conrad Hilberry (b. 1928)
At the top of the ladder, a gust catches the glass
And he is falling. He and the whole window topple
backwards like a piece of deception slowly
coming undone. After an instant of terror,
he feels easy, as though he were a boy
falling back on his own bed. For years,
he has clamped his hands on railings, balanced
against the pitch of balconies and cliffs
and fire towers. For years, he has feared falling.
At last, he falls. Still holding the frame,
he sees the sky and trees come clear
in the wavering glass. In another second
the pane will shatter over this whole length,
but now, he lies back on air, falling.