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Ladder to the Moon

If I had a ladder that reached to the moon
Up its millions of rungs I would go,
Up higher than ever the clouds can fly
Till the earth was a ball below.

I’d put on my warm wool winter coat
And my long scarlet scarf in case
While I climbed my ladder right up to the moon
It should start to snow in space.

I’d sidestep a couple of shooting stars
I’d stand on the steepest hill
At the top of my ladder to the moon
If only the moon stood still.

X.J. Kennedy (real name Joe) professed at Tufts University until he quit to write textbooks, including An Introduction to Poetry, now in its 13th edition and coauthored with Dana Gioia. His first book of verse was Nude Descending a Staircase (Doubleday, 1961); his latest are In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus: new and selected poems (Johns Hopkins U. Press), Peeping Tom’s Cabin: comic verse (BOA), and Fits of Concision: collected poems of six or fewer lines (Grolier Poetry Book Shop). A first novel for adults, A Hoarse Half-human Cheer: an entertainment (Curtis Brown Unlimited), came out this year. He has also written twenty children’s books, most recently City Kids (Vancouver: Tradewind Books). A former poetry editor of the Paris Review, Kennedy has received the Poets’ Prize, the 2015 Jackson Poetry Prize, and the Robert Frost gold medal of the Poetry Society of America. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts, with Dorothy M. Kennedy, coauthor of several books and five children.

To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.