Coming toward you on the sidewalk,

a young woman herds two little girls—

pink coats, matching hats with pom-poms

that twirl on long tethers


and you smile. They’re out of a portrait

you’ve seen somewhere—hanging in a museum,

or glossy in a magazine or living in a book,

where their hair is the richest chocolate brown,

and the younger girl is frozen in a moment

of rising up on a single foot as if to fly.


But the woman frowns,

you have to assume, because you have no

pom-pom girls

(who would by now be adults), and you

are as irrelevant as that tree over there,

with the gnarls on its face.

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