our mothers lived beneath
the Tower of Babel when they
were children. (every so often,

they slip and speak in tongues,
when they pretend we're not
listening.) but even though they've

got stairways to heaven reflected
in their eyes, they always
scold us for building our
castles too high. they tell us to

take small steps, or we'll wind up
running too far and scattered to
the ends of the earth. our mothers

are painted with contradictions,
handwritten and bound by
prayers and atheism. and i know

they keep telling us that
the clouds are too far away for
those of us born without wings,
but there's something wistful
in the way they
stare at our make-believe.

so keep climbing.
we'll reach the sky someday.