Peeping through a knothole in a pine fence,
a wind-worn cheek pressed to splintered wood.
Craning to watch a small girl in a handed-
down green t-shirt and blue jeans, scuffing
rubber-capped tennis shoes toward the
dairy barn. She’s dragging a play-train,
three cardboard boxes strung together
with dirty twine, stuffed animals riding in
each box. Her voice carries; she’s talking to
an old border collie in a manner so familiar
that my chest aches, closer than kin. Crooked
bangs, cut too short. The girl pauses when
the middle cardboard box catches on a weed
and the gabardine seal goes tail up. She gives
the twine a sharp tug to right the box and
the train rolls on. So far to go, little one.