The children saw a perfect ladder
rather than a twisted tree,
but little did it really matter—
they ran far ahead of me …
the leaning trunk they quickly straddled,
riding low across the grass.
Mounted neat on horse and saddle
off they galloped, fierce and fast.
Then their steed turned pirate ship—
magic I was glad to see—
and up they bear-walked, not a slip,
the ladder to the canopy
of sylvan leaves, and then set sail,
and squinted at the silver sea.
Left below, I kicked the soil
and wondered at the child in me
that still would like a tree to climb,
find pussy willows near a stream,
who thinks a tire swing sublime,
and suffers the broken dream.
I’ve schooled them in the magic of
a fallen leaf, a twisted tree …
now it’s me—the autumn leaf;
me the child they cannot see.