She had warned us not to
        pick them in the woods

or the police would come;
        so when we noticed

a new clump of them
        in her rock garden,

the delicate pink pouches
        speckled brown,

and saw her fetching them
        a cup of water

as she would not do for us
        when we woke up parched,

dirtying her knees to tamp
        the soil down around them,

we feared for the sirens.
        Did we play

with our toy guns, toy
        handcuffs, that day?

So much was strange:
        Dad's voice pleading

Give me a chance
        into the phone, and then

our piggy banks broken into.
        Bulldozers were going to

raze the woods where we'd
        dragged a mattress

for a fort, fought
        slingshot crabapple wars;

she must have thought
        she'd saved some.

Didn't she know what
        science tells me now:

that lady's slippers will not
        thrive if transplanted,

though they might take
        4 or 5 years to die?

That day, though, they were
        limp by sundown,

and the three of us,
        pink from the sun,

went in and washed up
        for supper

without being called.