—Eduard Manet, 1863
Two young men
lounge on the grass,
black jackets, spotless trousers.
Next to them, a naked woman.
Another woman, wearing only
her shimmy, dabbles in the pond.
Picnic basket, overturned,
spills ripe fruit, golden bread.
The men absorbed in discussion—
philosophy, stock market, horses—
haven’t even removed their cravats,
or tasted the food the women brought.
The naked woman’s feet are muddy,
perhaps she’s just come from a dip
beside her sister. Instead of listening
to the men, she stares out at us.
So? She says, when was your last picnic?
When did you last strip down
and turn your muddy feet to view?
In a minute, she’ll reach out
and bite into one of those peaches.
From my book, Fugitive Pigments (2013, FutureCycle Press)