I saw a small girl
picking juniper berries
among needled leaves
there will be many more stings
like that of the wasp you tried to pet
there will be more wonder
than that of the tiny rabbit you caught in brown grass
there will be many goodbyes
like the leaving of wild mice you grew and released.
in all your days to come
some may be lost but none will be wasted.
these things I might have said aloud
but she was too far to hear.
turning from the child
I saw an old woman
picking chokecherries from a cankered tree
her whispered words blew softly past
too far to hear
I was strangely comforted.