“Picnic” by A.C. Speyer

A.C. Speyer


The potato salad warms to curds,
and my aunt declares the day
hotter than hottest skin, pauses
under her full flowering magnolia
to remove blouse, brassiere, pants,
and panties, so that breasts parley
cool-down with pudendum.
The kids stare, wondering if
they all look like that. She turns
among platters of butter-slick corn;
turns to spoon balls of coleslaw
onto plastic plates; and turns again
with hamburgers, each capped
in vibrant condiments. She turns,
and her body slips magnolia
shadows comfortably on
and off, as if she just stepped
through her own wardrobe
onto red gingham. She spreads
her blanket across the thin grass,
over the bleached clam shells
that whelk her sandy lawn whiter.
Parents murmur parent things
and beckon kids from growing up,
no matter how patiently they wait
for seconds, thirds, or fourths,
no matter how much they respect
whomever’s turn as next.

from Rattle #27, Summer 2007

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