She was given a dress
that isn’t very old
but it is long
and has a lace collar.
She wore it all day yesterday,
slept in it,
and has it on today too,
walking slowly around the house
glassy-eyed and with her head tilted to the side,
talking in an English accent to no one.
How do I be even more old-fashioned, mama?
she asks me
and I realize instantly
it is the ideal moment
to introduce her to things like mopping.
I fix one of the seven plastic butterfly barrettes
she has carefully clipped to her braid
and I say in my best Mary Poppins voice,
Pish-posh, you silly goose,
if you don’t hop in the carriage now
we’ll be awfully late for school.