Mother, any distance greater than a single span

requires a second pair of hands.

You come to help me measure windows, pelmets, doors,

the acres of the walls, the prairies of the floors.

You at the zero-end, me with the spool of tape, recording

length, reporting metres, centimetres back to base, then leaving

up the stairs, the line still feeding out, unreeling

years between us. Anchor. Kite.

I space-walk through the empty bedrooms, climb

the ladder to the loft, to breaking point,
where something
has to give; two floors below your fingertips still pinch

the last one-hundredth of an inch…I reach

towards a hatch that opens on an endless sky

to fall or fly.