I have a ticket in my pocket that will take me from Lynchburg to New York in nine hours, from the Blue Ridge to Stuy Town, from blue jays wrangling over sunflower seeds to my alarm clock and startled pigeons. If I had a daughter I'd take her with me. She'd sit by the window wearing the blue dress with the stars and sickle moons, counting houses and cemeteries, watching the knotted rope of fence posts slip by while I sat beside her pretending to read, but unable to stop studying her in disbelief. Her name would tell her that she's beautiful. Belle. Or something strong, biblical. Sarah. She would tolerate the blue jay and weep for the pigeon; she would have all the music she wanted and always the seat by the window. If I had a daughter she would know who her father is and he would be home writing letters or playing the banjo, waiting for us, and I would be her mother. We'd have a dog, a mutt, a stray we took in from the rain one night in November, the only stray we ever had to take in, one night in our cabin in the Catskills. It would be impossibly simple: two train tickets; a man, a dog, waiting; and a girl with her nose pressed to the window. Meg Kearney