Coming toward you on the sidewalk,
a young woman herds two little girls—
pink coats, matching hats with pom-poms
that twirl on long tethers
and you smile. They’re out of a portrait
you’ve seen somewhere—hanging in a museum,
or glossy in a magazine or living in a book,
where their hair is the richest chocolate brown,
and the younger girl is frozen in a moment
of rising up on a single foot as if to fly.
But the woman frowns,
you have to assume, because you have no
(who would by now be adults), and you
are as irrelevant as that tree over there,
with the gnarls on its face.