From the poetry collection Autumn Opens a Door, published fall 2015.
Different From the One This Summer
Autumn picnic in the park.
Put the dishes on the table to hold down
the flimsy red-checked cloth that blows in the wind.
The baked beans are in that ceramic pot
staying warm. The one there. The grill
is cranky and the charcoal resisting
getting a good fire going but finally
it seems to have taken hold. Everyone is wearing
a coat and warm clothes. Every face looks pinched
in the chill. Some are smiling. Some are not.
The stack of napkins blows away. Chase them for
what you can get back. Let the rest go.
The hot dogs are almost ready. Get out the plates
and the recaptured napkins. It’s hard to eat
with gloves on. Of course it’s nice to get together but
Who thought it would be a good idea
to have a picnic this time of year?
Who’s even asking?
It’s not so bad, is it?
Try one of those hot dogs.