when i find the leaf that might be birch that is two shades of brown divided down the central stem with an arch of diamonds cut into it as if it were a paper-cut snowflake i made when i was seven,
and i hold it up to my eye to peer through the holes
and see the moon waxing
three quarters full
the black locust branches
when i place the leaf on the kitchen counter and ro picks it up and examines it for a while, says I got it! and puts the puzzle together
how the caterpillar – bug – insect – must have gnawed its way through the leafwhile it was still all curled up and small in the spring, and then the leaf grew
and changed color
so months later
i find it on the path
for me to look through to the moon
ly loses her top front tooth in the somewhat sacred five minutes when everyone is actually quiet and journaling in their sit spots scattered along the trail after lunch and she runs to me from the shelter of sticks that she’d claimed since monday,
smiling with her hand outstretched
and there is a little bit of blood where she had been wiggling and wiggling. i tell her yes you can bring it inside and get cleaned up.
when we’re all walking out of the woods back to the classroom, h, who is also seven years old, looks like she is thinking very hard and tells me she is jealous of ly losing her tooth.
i tell her that i didn’t lose most of my teeth until 5th grade, but i’m not sure it’s a comfort in the moment
and i am left to wonder about the cravings of growing, even if it means
the coming apart of us,
shedding teeth like
a process of molting i’d forgotten i’d done.