As we pack up our picnic dishes,
lake-tired, dreamy, we notice two cygnets,
almost the size of their parents,
flanking the grown swans diving for fish.
The whole way back we keep them in our eye
as we tote our trash and blanket. Almost grown.
About the age, in swan-years, that we were
when we met. Dawdling, we stop to buy
a dusty cantaloupe, its rind pocked and lobed.
We met at the age when we questioned
everything, though now to probe
the universe for our fortune
might end the ease of this hour,
a watching so satisfying it’s exhausting:
boat sails rising, as if out of battle fog . . . the blue
draining unexpected pockets of old worries
as the swan flotilla of childhood recedes. . . .
We cut into the cantaloupe when we get home,
but it’s not memory, and it’s not war,
it’s just a rough globe grown on a vine,
and we’re delighted, as we always are,
to bite the orange beneath its dome.
Picnic is from The Second Blush (W.W. Norton and Co., June 2008).