By Christine Gelineau
My first trip to Mount Desert Island was the summer
I turned twenty, four Augusts after the August
my mother died. A camping trip with the friend
who would one day become my sister-in-law.
Our first day on the island we picked up
a hitchhiker, young guy from Bleecker Street
in the Village, visiting Acadia as we were.
Caution tells us we should never have
opened ourselves to him like that – how impossible
it is now to explain the generational trust we felt then,
what we read in one another’s clothes and hair.
The woman I would know for the rest of my life
and the young man we would never see again
roamed the park, contentedly, platonically,
while he took a veteran’s pleasure in showing us
where the sweetest blueberries clung
to their granite escarpment, where the mudflats
plump with quahogs were. None of us seemed
to know the skies well enough to have heard
of the Perseids, but he knew Seawall and on our last
night there we carried blankets out to muffle
the stony beach, and lay down in the dark, rocked
by the lapping of the unseen waves, easy together
beneath the shower of frolicking stars.
Christine Gelineau is the author most recently of the poetry collection CRAVE (NYQ Books, 2016). Other books include APPETITE FOR THE DIVINE and REMORSELESS LOYALTY (both from Ashland Poetry Press). A recipient of the Pushcart Prize, Gelineau teaches at Binghamton University and in the low-residency MFA at Wilkes University. Her poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared widely including in Prairie Schooner, New Letters, The New York Times Opinionator, Green Mountains Review and others.
Featured image courtesy, Derek Wright.