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Danielle Todd

My mother in a museum


My mother stands in a museum in Amsterdam,

not

able to find the meeting point

because

the museum has stairs

and

the meeting point is up the stairs

and

my mother is afraid of stairs.


Right angle

upon

another, one up

and

across to

bridge

a large vertical distance

that

she could never cross

alone.


I find her outside a different set of toilets

then

the one we had agreed upon

and

I stand glittering beneath a coat of anger

and

guilt and sadness

and

a terrible longing to

fall

to her feet

and

beg her to carry me

like

an animal she has run over

and

has broken its leg, gather

up

my limp bones

and

get in her car

and

drive home.


My heart beats shallow between her legs

and

it’s from here that I feel the hum of traffic

and

falling rain, that I wait

to

hear the indicator ticking

as

we turn into another year.

On the next trip I forget

to

worry about stairs.

I stop looking

for

vertical distances

that

I may not be able to cross.