On Picnic Day

As part of the Draw Write Here project, Sue Blaustein and Thea Kovac collaborated as writer and artist responding to the a topic in their medium, swapping work and responding to their partner’s work, creating illustrated stories.

On Picnic Day by Thea Kovac

On Picnic Day

We ride elephants
to our rock
on picnic day.
When we arrive – at our boulder –
we dismount
and the elephants

stay there.

They won’t leave
without us.
They wouldn’t,
but it’s not like
waiting. They don’t wait.
They abide where
we are; and when we’re ready
to be somewhere else,
they’re ready too.
That’s how it feels.

They sway their trunks
in rhythm, back and forth
while we unpack
slices of bread.
We lay the slices
directly on our boulder,
because it’s inexhaustibly clean.
The minerals it precipitates strengthen us.
Napkins and paper plates don’t.

Elephant skin is gray, folded

and complicated.

The boulder is textured too.
Its colors are subtle.

Charcoal and rose.

There are little marks, runes
on it – each of us has a favorite.
One looks like part of a crawfish!

We open jars.

We have miraculous spreads
for open-face sandwiches.
Every sort of fruit

and its color, blended.

Orange peel, lemon peel… lime wash.
Deep raspberry thinned to pink,
creating stripes along Concord grape.

The spreads look like sherbet,
but they’re warm – not icy,
not silly. Our sandwiches
look like the sky between
park trees in the east, backlit

in April at dusk;

or the tentacles of anemones

in tide-pools.
We’re calm

because of the colors, calm
from the minerals
and the elephants.
We’re calm from
the antiquity and subtlety
of the markings on our rock.

Others lived.
So can we.

by Sue Blaustein
Artwork by Thea Kovac
In H. Fischman (Ed.), Draw Write Here, Volume 2, Issue 2. Blaustein, S. & Kovac, T. (2017)

The item, from Goodwill, that began Sue & Thea’s artistic conversation:


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