A Covered Bridge in Littleton, New Hampshire
by Stephanie Burt
I can remember when I wanted X
more than anything ever—for X fill in
from your own childhood
[balloon, pencil lead, trading card, shoelaces, a bow
or not to have to wear a bow]
and now I am moved to action, when I am moved,
principally by a memory of what to want.
The point is to be, in your own eyes, what you are,
or to keep your own tools, so that you can pretend.
And so it was no surprise,
to me at least, when Cooper, who is two,
collapsed in fortissimo fits when he could not have
a $20, three-foot-long stuffed frog
in the image of Frog from Frog and Toad, since he is Toad.
That morning, needing a nap,
he had thrown, from the third-story balcony
of Miller’s Cafe and Bakery, into the whistling
rapids and shallows
of the Ammonoosuc River, with its arrowheads and caravans of stones,
his Red Sox cap. His hair was shining like
another planet’s second sun,
as he explained, looking up, “I threw my hat in the river.
I would like my hat back now.”
PHOTO: Covered bridge and grist mill along Ammonoosuc River in Littleton, New Hampshire. Photo by Cowleydac, used by permission.
NOTE: Find out more about the covered bridges of New Hampshire at visit-newhampshire.com.