Crossing Sherwood
by Jane Lin

A child crosses the road
in a small town in New Mexico,
backpack thickly fit
more for a burro than a boy.
He should have

as good as I had: canvas bag
sided with a panda bear, open-gazed
in its painted coat, while on the other,
Holly Hobbie shyly turned aside, blue
gingham engulfing her head in a bonnet.

And better than jeans
straight-legged or boot-cut:
the home-sewn bunny pants
in durable blue-grey, a face
planted on each knee, target of grass stains
and pebbled asphalt.

But that hat I had,
itchy in its wool stripes, I hated it
though you taught me not to hate,
and I dreaded the cream
you slathered on my cheeks in winter.
No, it wasn't so bad, I do it now,
though sparingly.


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