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, balanced between care and carefree, you write out some parental permission I forgot to sign. It passes, like a smile, between us.