by Joanne Epp

Two hours, maybe, just far enough to shift
from aspen parkland into spiky grass
and sandy soil—an afternoon away,
as much as time off work allows.

At a roadside picnic ground we stop,
pull out ball and glove, Frisbee, cooler chest.
Cloth to cover the table’s peeling paint,
graffiti. In the chest, tuna sandwiches,
fresh-picked lettuce, radishes, iced tea.
Chocolate cookies iced with vanilla.

Wild roses fill the ditch, flat
pink blossoms sweet
and soft as talc.
I wade in for a sniff,
mingle their scent with dust
kicked up from tall grass.

It’s possible to know there’s more
and not want it. It’s possible for this
to be enough: the cottonwoods’
dry patter, and underneath it
our voices (small, without echo);
a meadowlark, a killdeer;
the approach and retreat of a single car.

— from Juniper Volume 2, Issue 3