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Daniel Picker

Poppy’s Walk

On a warm Spring
day, an afternoon with
bright sun
across the brick side –
walk to the mail
box, not the nearest one.

Then we turned down
a side street,
then right again
and walked across
from the fence above
the train tracks.
You could hear one
coming before I.

In the field we walked
all the way through;
I set you free early
on and you returned,
then again I could tell
you heard the train
and did your tight
whirligig spins
and soon you were
racing gone along
the fence,
but you returned
smiling in sun
tongue out
unlike any lover.

So, we kept
walking all the way
down the hill
where I saw
a huge crow
bigger than a hawk
drop a squirrel,
and you pulled
hard, then under
the railroad bridge
amid broken glass,
then to another field
then along another
fence, then beside
the scraggly littered
woods, past the small
town theatre
to the new soccer
fields, once a dump,
now transformed
and dedicated to a classmate’s
father who I used to see
at the library and riding
his girl’s bicycle.
We walked past
the girl’s softball
game, the last two
outs.
       Then back across
the open soccer fields,
I tossed the tennis
ball; you ran and brought
it back, twice; you
ran down in the stony
gully between the fields.
Then we walked home.


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