Little girl in flyaway braids
That was me
Puppy and fly rod
Secret hideout in the aspens
Paintbrush and rock hammer
Pocketful of agates.

Summers I was hill girl,
Creek girl, gulch girl,
Wildflower girl,
Flyfishing girl.
Until snow came deep
Until cold came hard.

Winters, I was story girl
Sitting on the floor
At Gramps’ and Grandma Lily’s,
Listening, pencil busy,
Writing as they spoke,
Writing as they laughed.

Lily and her brother Douglas
Carried lunches to school in lard pails
Walked warily through the sage
Dodging wild cattle.
Douglas was her favorite.
He died at twenty on the railroad tracks, falling from a freight car.

Gramps and his brothers
Had a cabin on the Pahsimeroi
Caught wild horses
Broke them to halter and to saddle
Sold them to the United States Cavalry
And to the Dutch for the Boer War.

They’re gone.
Pigtail girl kept their stories
And now I gift them here.
Don’t let their stories die
Don’t let your own stories die
Written words will save them.