Why Do Giraffes Climb Trees?

by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach

Because acacia is sweetest
at the canopy and grows

more beautiful
when viewed from above.

Because no two giraffes
or trees have the same

pattern, coat or bark
or branch or hoof, and no two

clouds look the same
from below and no two

giraffes can climb
the same tree or reach

the clouds. Because we too
can’t help looking up and

when we can’t see,
we climb. Because giraffes learn

falling from birth. Because
of mothers. And the heart.

Because theirs is the largest
of any mammal and weighs

24 pounds and pumps
60 gallons of blood a minute.

Because they don’t keep
such measurements

or remember the trees
they’ve climbed. And because we

are born remembering
to scream, while they

are born knowing
to stand.

 

 

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach emigrated from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine as a Jewish refugee when she was six years old. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon and is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, where her dissertation focuses on contemporary poetry about the Holocaust. Julia is the author of The Bear Who Ate the Stars (Split Lip Press, 2014) . She is also Editor-in-Chief of Construction Magazine and writes a blog about motherhood.