A June late afternoon, I returned
from home to Madame Farhat’s room with
a few pint packs of raspberries
for the French Honor Society picnic;
she assigned me to ride with Christina Burek—
whom I knew only by the back of her
head seen from my rear-row desk in Psychology—
to recently landscaped Lake Artemisia
along the new Metro and old freight tracks.
“It must be an environmental wonder,”
I snarked; Christina chuckled, although
even I thought my remark rather dorky.
A junior clad in a rainbow tie-dyed T-shirt,
torn-kneed jeans, and flip-flops—but judging
from tender features and keen demeanor much
too wholesome and smart for weed or acid.
Her sunny hair seemed to imbue a golden
complexion onto her supple skin.
Lake Artemisia in College Park, Maryland
We all lounged on the grass to feast the forthcoming
season of fruit and, for me already passed,
school year’s close; Christina imagined her
passage to college: “I might major in French,
or philosophy or English …” I didn’t mean
to spurn the group I came here to join,
but once I ate what I would my eyes
strayed through new distance glasses required for driving
and the open glade to its girdling woods.
We concluded in time for younger members
to catch activity buses from school.
Christina obliged to drive me home.
I navigated us from Greenbelt Road left
onto Southway; we rhapsodized over the Black Crowes
as her car lumbered up Ridge Road to Eastway.
She smiled a warm smile as I let myself
out, a parting gift of an era and place
whose boons I never quite learned how to receive.