The Funambulist’s Daughter

I was raised in the sky. For playmates I chose
magpies and sparrows. On the high-wire
I learned the language of clouds, of wind,
and the balance of all things being equal.
It’s where I found my feet, toed the line,
while the butterflies and rain gave up
their applause. I followed in her footsteps,
heard her call my name from the other side.
But only when she left, did I glean her gift
of light, her lofty plans for me – to dare
thin air, refuse the earth and turn down
the invitation of gravity. I never shared the
trick that kept me on the wire: with each step
I pictured my mother, holding my hand.