New York City, Age 16
At some unsteady times I stand on kitchen chairs
and press my palms into the ceiling
until I feel the taut line through my body to the floor.
Perhaps they build towers for the same reason,
to pull us to stability between the sky and ground.
I felt something like that as I walked with my father
through the gray city shadow I had never known before,
felt cement and steel pressing/pulling both at once.
If I had been older then I would have known the words:
this is where men come to press their palms against the ceiling.
Stella Nickerson is a professor of chemical engineering at Brigham Young University. Her poems have appeared in Mezzo Cammin, the Rotary Dial, Strong Verse, and Strange Horizons.