by David Huddle A stile is a pair of steps or ladders that is accessible to pedestrians but generally inaccessible to animals. Stiles are often found in rural areas or along footpaths and allow access to a field or other area enclosed by a fence or wall. Unlike a gate, there is no chance of forgetting to close it…. –Wikipedia Between the house of my mother’s childhood and the one where my father grew up was a field about the size of a city block, a fence on both sides, with a gate through which he had to pass to enter the field, then a stile over which he had to pass to leave the field and arrive in her yard. My brothers and I were specks of cosmic dust floating far above the thistles, clover, alfalfa, and wild strawberries that grew in that field–no bodies, brains, or spirits, we nevertheless witnessed a young man’s more and more frequent trips through the gate, across the field, and over the stile that summer, both their mothers watching from bedroom windows that faced each other across the shimmering heat of June, July, and August. Desire is the sky, the grass, the smell of cedar, specks of light shooting through blackness: it knows no authority. Our mother was fifteen, compelling as fire seen for the first time, strong-willed as a young horse. Their mothers knew better than to say no. My brothers and I kept our watch, drifting closer each time my father approached the stile to find her on the porch, waiting in the wicker rocker. Her half-closed eyes saw him flying to her. That’s when they must have felt us waiting out there in time.