Pedestals

stairswooden

Thousands
   cheer,
   chant,
   and clap
   as one of their own
   is proudly carried toward
   the lofty pedestal.

The audience
   urges him
   up the stairway,
   step by step,
   higher and higher,
   far above the masses
   on the prominent platform.

The media is there
   with lights,
   cameras
   and prime-time coverage.

Publishers huddle
   around the base,
   for they know
   pedestal-people
   sell well.

The crowds
   on satellite hook-ups
   hang on
   every last word,
   for he seems
   so close to eternity.

Yet he feels
   unsure,
   unworthy,
   afraid
   and very alone . . .

But at that height
   no one notices,
   no one questions,
   no one confronts.

And so,
   in a split second,
   the trap door swings,
   the noose tightens,
   the crowd gasps.

Undeterred, the mob moves on
   to build more pedestals;
   to encourage another
   of their own
   up the starlit steps.

But mostly
   to wonder
   why those
   at the pinnacle
   keep falling
   from the heights.

Copyright © 1988 James N. Watkins

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