Population: unwavering. The house
you were brought home to, barber shop
on the corner, old man with the razor
and shears always old, always there.
Snow, then grass, then red and brown
leaves, and right on cue, the snow
marshmallowing up again where
you expect it. You can always return
here, they know you here, they know
to bring you two blueberry pancakes
and coffee with a spoon in it. Bake sale
again tomorrow, stacked brownies
on wax paper, ubiquitous chocolate kisses
shoved into peanut butter rounds,
and cross-hatched peanut butter cookies.
You learned how to do that once, press
the tines of a fork across the rolled
dough to make a new shape. In kitchens,
right now, there are children laying forks
gently across the dough vertically,
then horizontally, tiny squares of cookie
popping out like miniature typewriter keys.
All our days, overlapping. The photograph
of baby you in the leaf pile is being taken
again, baby of the baby you used to baby-sit.
Chalk in the ledges of the blackboards.
Pieces of wrapped taffy in the street
leftover from the Memorial Day parade,
eternally. Every branch as you predict,
squirreled, cardinaled, sturdy.