CWI June 2018 Winner

Up the ladder

Jack Cooper

We fed the tree for six weeks,

heaping nettles at its base

as we bared nearby forest, clearing paths

to afternoons spent in high branches

while you lay sunbathing on salvaged wood,

not hearing dog-walkers when they passed below us,

like when – on our first day spent building –

I stood on that nail, piercing the sole of my shoe

but stopping just short of my skin.