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The Boon

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.