We part at school.
You bear the pallor
of conscientiousness,
my daughter.
(I wish I could kiss
the nursery
back into your cheeks,
those Cotswold years
of blackberries
and Blue Peter.)
As you cross the line
you stoop
to shoulder
the burden of passage.
Between us,
like curtains, fall
gate, yard, friends.
I leave them to you,
but turn back once
as you,
my orchard filly,
canter the distance
between us.
Your hair,
like an autumn tangle
of fawn
and tawny gold,
spills to one side.
Then, hip on heel,
copybook on knee,
between care
and carefree,
you write out
some parental permission
I forgot to sign.
It passes,
like a smile,
between us.