My kids had this big idea. We would picnic in the truck bed in our driveway.
Despite their charm and conviction, it didn’t sound appealing. We said you guys can eat out there, we will eat on the deck.
They ran back and forth from bedroom to driveway with blankets and pillows and dolls. Their trail a wildfire of mess and excitement.
Of course their flames caught us. Of course we would all eat in the truck. In the sawdust, compost and puddles.
Our neighbor turned six today. His grandma gave him a remote controlled car. It’s held court in our hood all day, that car. It is the subject of negotiation and triumph, of compromise and defeat.
As we were dining in the truck in the driveway, the birthday boy and his sister neared and joined our party. We ate friend rice and talked about being six, cheered for successful car launches off of curbs.
Just before they left, the birthday boy grabbed my phone and snapped a few photos.
retreated away form the mess, the piles, the lists
retreated toward our daughters’ earnest inclination
into the bed of a small, old pickup truck
last bits of late summer light
gray hair at my temples,
laugh lines mostly from my husband’s humor
bandaid on one bloodied knee
she learned to ride a bike earlier today
she took off and fell hard
took off again, blood like a creek down her shin bone
wait for me!
she usually waits for her sister
sometimes because I yell for her to wait for her sister
her little sister, the one she leans into
to make goofy faces behind their parents’ backs
in the truck bed, in the driveway on this night
her little sister, the one that makes her the most furious
the one she wants to spoon when she sleeps