The Climbing Walls
by Diana Anhalt

Your silence strings barbed wire across the breakfast table.
I think of walls:

________The splintery planks around construction sites
________strung with chicken wire,
________fastened with tetanus-breeding nails
________which stained my hands orange.

________Layered brick hand-scrapers
________crumbling as I worked my way up
________kicking against the flimsy spots
________for toe-holds.
________These left scars.

________The walls I couldn't scale...
________Lime-washed concrete
________crowned with jagged glass
________higher than elevator stop buttons,
________my father,
________his expectations...

Stiff-backed you rise from the table,
If I challenge you now
I'll skin my knees against your edges.


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