Why My Mother Is Still Afraid of Heights

Shevaun Brannigan

Because my father breathes the outdoors air 
            as he shunts from city to city like a rich man
Because her mother doesn’t breathe anything
Because her mother is deep in the ground my mother 
           wants to be deep in the ground
Because the elevator lurches Because of twisted ankles on stairs
Because stairs go to places Because she doesn’t 
           want to go to places
Because a glass elevator is the world’s orbit
Because I will not carry her on my back so if she falls
           I fall Because I have run out of empathy like milk
           the carton is empty so are the cows
Because we came down from the trees for a reason
Because someone might push her
           but you want to die
           only on my terms
           it doesn’t work that way
Because the constellations are just clogs in the universe
           a mountain’s night-peak has poor reception
Because on tip-toes she might see more dust
           her calf muscles might feel the strain of being useful
Because the giraffe’s black tongue is disillusionment 
Because in space astronauts’ tears don’t fall 
           She and I are star sailors
           dabbing each other’s faces    
           oceans collecting in our eyes!