Jade Wallace Literature Poetry

A Ladder Set upon the Earth

d i m e n s i o n s w e c a n s c a r c e l y r e c o g n i z e.
ever been. The balance of our faces will be alien—
nostrils, our eyes round as planets, wide as they have
ourselves going grey, left with only the twin slits of our
move more swiftly toward our demise. Soon, we find
human cells shorten and time, for us, speeds ahead. We
noses chafed to a layer of pink. Under stress, the telemeres of
plane mirror over the bathroom sink, notice the skin of our
say we are only hurting ourselves. Biding, we face down the
against the pane, our wrists, our reflections, lie to us: they
veil we pierce only by shattering. If we crack knuckles
two-way mirror rendered single by corporate doublespeak. A
and believe the territory is small. Manageable. Their view is a
from above, through glass, the way one might look at an atlas
curses of our neighbours’ flesh made raw. They watch us
our hands wet and galled by the grindstone. We hear the
skill, but transparency. We see the task before us, the metal in
second-storey offices. What distinguishes us from them is not
ciphers, connecting our ground-level shop floor to their
elevator, its mechanisms invisible, guarded by four arcane
simple devices, clear paths to ascension. Instead we got an
wanted a set of steps, a door with a key. Straight routes,
Our workplace is a warehouse without a staircase. We

Photo credit: Mark Laliberte

Jade Wallace (they/them) is the book reviews editor for CAROUSEL and the co-founder of MA|DE, a collaborative writing entity. Wallace’s debut poetry collection, Love Is A Place But You Cannot Live There, is available now from Guernica Editions. jadewallace.ca