The Morgantown Pandas

We saw the pandas half in dark.
Perched on your shoulders, curly hair
Gripped in my hands, I saw a pair,
Then twos and threes.
They topped the hill, passed through the trees
And rambled down the grassy arc
That overlooked the trailer park,
Bear and not bear.

They joined bright beetles, cardinals' lilt,
And all the mysteries that fed
Our talks together. In my head
I kept them all --
Spring's tender needles, feathers' fall,
Pine cone and chrysalis tight-built --
Like patterns on the purple quilt
Atop my bed.

The pandas were a dream. I know
That now. But memory will take
Its treasure dreaming or awake
At such an age.
It knows what matters: it can gauge
Which images will thrive and grow
Long roots to anchor deep below
The mind they make.