The plastic table cloth, the one they used since the 50’s because it still worked; cartoon figures saying things we don’t say, like “hot dog!” to mean “cool”. The home-welded barbecue, together we circled ’round flags stuck in bottle necks, there to decorate and anchor; matchbooks’ cinder, the thermometer, in a right-here-right-now temperature, and the fly swatter’s unpredicted swat.

I once knew patios by pools, but they were not mine. There was just the one known well, that dawned on the house grandfather built with a mind for not exactly this, nondescript rectangle of cement, with too many risky chairs to sit except for the great grandmother, while she was still there. The old people we can’t bear to watch eat, and patient, pass the pickles when she asks.

We must have pickles, omnivorous, German hand-me-down desire for pickles we had, making them out of anything we grew, on the hodge-podge of chairs to sit for a minute, for hours, or a lifetime with the cigar and the furniture that didn’t fit in the house only made it thus far. But daughter-sister, you know it troubles everyone to question the order of things, despite it’s true.

When you’re there, it all makes sense, to hope the strong breeze comes up and moves us, to clip the tablecloth corners and hunker down, before the breeze that moves stagnant air away from the house, away to move freely, the further out we make it, picked up on the breeze that expands the garden flags, the edges of this patio only lightly attached, attached enough, to qualify as our corner of the world.


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