Covered Dish Picnic 


Esther almost peed herself

at the Piscataquis County Covered Dish Picnic


After prayer

and before the baked beans and brown bread
she was to sing
Down By The Riverside


Summer dressed

and standing in the bed of her brother's wagon

Esther could see every face

she knew them all

knew their names

knew what they brought to share

called some family


She had inherited a voice

of such beauty

such rhapsodic, scientific balance

that women would faint in surrender

or embarrassment

and men would shake themselves into unspeakable smiles


As her sister fiddled the opening notes

she could see her husband in the back sipping beer


he had been rough with her once


but mostly kind

mostly true

almost always


as he put down his beer

he blew her a kiss

that made her blush

that warmed her breast

that began the song

that made them faint


and caused a tinkle

at the Piscataquis County Covered Dish Picnic