Picnic in Stone

by Beverly Burch

We stopped for lunch, a bare schoolyard,
a wooden table exposed to summer sun.
I can’t remember where we were going,
even the state we were in–
just a blank highway, little insular towns,
then the school, a paved ball court,
a dusty oval of track, absence of trees.
We took out a slice of fruit, a heap
of brown cookies, bottle of lemonade.

I can’t remember who was with me.
My mother, another troubled excursion?
A past lover, a failing affair? Only how
it was bleak beside the stone bleachers
where we held twin halves of a ham
sandwich, lettuce wilting at the edges.

Memory’s an old dog running off-trail.
Now it returns with a torn scarf,
one rank sock: these ragged pieces–
strained cheer, the taste of peaches,
yellowjackets working crooked little limbs
across a curl of green melon.

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