You look like you're five,
but you're four.
"I love you," you say,
"but sometimes it's tricky."
We sit at the end of the bed and say,
You swash your legs under the sheets,
trying to row back to sleep.
Morning, still. The dog needs walking.
"I want the orange stroller!" you say.
Your bed-pressed blonde hair's like a shout.
I say no. The weather's warm,
and you've two new inches of height
to learn through travel.
Ten minutes later, we've climbed
five-eighths of the hill
that starts at the nearest crossroad.
The dog hasn't pooped;
perhaps he's confused by the wailing.
I'm keeping my chin up—
It's grey, like the world's wrapped in wool.
Wool, I think.
Wail, you say. Ail and woe
for the walking, the waking, for love
as a thing that has thorns. Then you stoop
to pick up a twig from the sidewalk;
your pleasure is instant.
So's mine at that light weight of leaves
arriving (and just
in the nick) to your hand.
Twirling the twig, you turn up a clutch
of three green-bellied acorns.
We talk about them, crest the hill.
On the downslope you're once again sad.
The dog's missed his window.
We're all a touch frayed. But the twig
travels with us. And later,
as day lifts and broadens and I
can sort through what's whole and what's tender,
I'll find three green acorns all gathered
into your carseat cupholder
like emblems of what we remember.