I owned a single pair of shoes, two dresses,
a pony, and a horse.
I did not learn to roller-skate
or to ride a bike,
But I made a purple crown of burdock
and marveled at how firmly
it stayed on my head. I named my white goose Bonnie,
and Bonnie turned out to be a hissing gander.
I netted butterflies until I discovered
that I did not like them dead.
I fed pigs and lambs from a bottle
and taught calves to drink milk from a pail.
I drove the cattle home in the evening, then stopped
at the creek to wash my feet. I rode a white goat,
named Billie, and he catapulted me over his head.
I sat quietly each spring along the Des Moines River
and watched a pair of belted kingfishers
tunnel a home in the hard clay bank.
I stopped my horse and waited for a mother skunk
and four black and white kittens
to waddle slowly across my path
in single file
with their tails arched over their backs.
I watched a red fox and her pups,
flame-red in the autumn sun,
sniffing the air near a mooring stone.
I was the daughter of a farmer
who lost his farm during the Great Depression,
but I knew a million moments
of awe and wonder,
and those were the moments
when my dreams were born.
Published in Variations in White, the ninth CSS Publication Anthology, edited by Rebecca S. Bell of CSS Publications, and copyrighted 1986.