• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 09

Picnic at the Pond

Sundays we converged on the park
with the pond no one swam in
anymore, water too dark, too
green, filled with stones, tangled in weeds.

My father’s side told their stories
of Sundays at the pond, only
day the store was closed, how they swam
in cool, sunlit water above

both stones and weeds. Mother shuddered
though she once swam in ponds, daring
the lightning to strike her,
leaving only when her gran called.

My dad’s great aunt once brought kugel,
noodle pudding from across years,
across the sea, like raw turnip,
a food from the Russian Empire.

Years later my New York friends craved
kugel served warm in winter, sour
cream and sweet raisins. They would buy
it at stores, bring it to pot lucks.

To me, it seemed bland, not like peach
ice cream, pale shadow of the ice cream
Gram would hand crank beside the ponds
Mom would swim in long years ago.