damp hand in mine, my daughter leads me back,
to look up at the definite lace
of black elm leaves against the changing sky.
Will you remember these twilit streets,
here at the millennium’s beginning?
She fills her cap with wet rose petals
from a bush wide as ones in fairy tales
(in a book lost years ago, The Rose
Tree and Johnny Crow’s Garden bound upside-
down from each other). She says, They like
rain, her cap held out to catch the drizzle.
I say, You could take them home. You could
dry them. Why? she asks. Why? So they will last.
You could keep them until you forget
this dusk, your dog’s backward glance, the privet
hedge you peered into, face wet with hope.
For a moment, the sky is a silver
bowl she could tap and make ring. Water-
droplets form in her hair. She passes through
a hole between two giant yews, clipped
smooth, grown together at the top, solid
bodies in a yard made of shadows.
A magic door! I say. She hesitates,
asking, But what if it takes me away
from you? then goes through anyway.
Annie Woodford is a teacher and poet living in Roanoke, Virginia. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Appalachian Heritage, The Comstock Review, Word Riot, The Normal School, The Chattahoochee Review, Waccamaw, Bluestem, Tar River Poetry, and Town Creek Poetry, among others.
Artwork: Stephen Mackey, “Three Secret Words”