After the Picnic by Susan Van Pelt Petry

The sandwich bones left, 

the falling tide sucked 

through the gut, 


the wind snapped southeast, 

deep Atlantic blew in 

and the fog arrived. 


All lilt and laughter 

turned trembling, wet, 

dropped below deck, 


a halyard slacked, 

the genoa flapped, 

and a loon cried. 


Sounds from the shore 

echoed and slurred. 

The sky smudged the sea, 


like the end of a life, 

when the compass spins off 

and there’s no then, no next. 


All vistas were blurred, 

even thumbs disappeared, 

and the ship lost sight. 

*first published in Academy of the Heart and Mind*
Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on

About the Poet:

Susan Van Pelt Petry is a choreographer and dancer and now writer of poetry, memoir, and fiction. She lives in Ohio and Maine with her husband and dog and is recovering from brain surgery bringing her close to death.


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