On the field trip to the maple grove,
the kindergarten children pocket their mittens
in order to touch the sap droplets
pending on the spout above the bucket,
meager proof on the tongue
of the sugar a cold night and warm day
frees up from snowmelt and sunshine.
It's hard to know, at 5 or 6,
how many buckets more it takes,
plus cordwood kindling the evaporator fire,
to make amber syrup flow on pancakes
like ink from my pen
on this page.