By k.j. mcdaniel
Circling the parking lot, we searched for
a space like ravens hovering over carrion
to keep the slides and monkey bars hidden
from our little girl, wanting to purge distractions
from our picnic under the covered park pavilion.
We sat. We talked of a mother’s bleeding ulcer,
a niece who lived in a faraway place, and about
a sister who issued a death warrant over a coffee
table. All this while we kept mixing the Ranch and
turkey bacon of the cornbread salad and cutting up
yellow tomatoes for the black-bean salsa. We, too,
appreciated the silent moments and the slanted sun
rays that were determined to interrupt our shady retreat
as we pecked watermelon rinds and lamented forgotten
toothpicks for the tiny ivory seeds wedged in our teeth.
We threw away half-eaten fragments and packed up
leftovers when our little girl discovered the playground.
We watched the tips of her auburn strands blow away
in the breeze like dandelion seeds as she ran in place at
the tops of slides, taking turns catching her, entertained
by the other children who pretended to be superheroes
who were out to catch friends threatening Gotham. While
we, under the surface, mulled over the new stuff that
would come with Monday at the end of summer.