My Picnic with Lolita
I brought the cherries.
I hoped for heart-shaped sunglasses,
a lollipop, from the movie poster.
I walk to class so weary of hearing them talk.
Poetry isn't literary, I quote.
It doesn't know the parts of speech.
Write what you know, I say,
trying to make it sound new.
She tells me her parents died,
at a picnic, just like this.
Lightning, she says, and I think,
Billy Collins beat me to it already.
Lie down, she says, Take your coat off.
I'll rub your back. I did for Nabokov.
I do as I am told and think,
this is why he invented her and I invited her.
Someday, she will wish to be pretty one more time.
Later, at my desk, I feel a shooting pain up my arm,
a tightness in my chest. So this is my death.
Here. Now. With so many papers still to correct
and wish I could have died at my picnic, with Lolita,
by lightning, instead.
She is the curator
in the museum
of her own endless disappointments.
After a lifetime,
she has quite a collection.
©2003 by Jack Conway
Jack Conway's novel, The Road To Ruin, was published in 2003. Life Sentences, his third collection of poetry, was published in 2002. His work has appeared in: The Antioch Review, The Columbia Review, The Land-Grant College Review, RALPH, The Peregrine Review, Rattle, The Paumanok Review, Yankee, Eclipse, and The Norton Anthology.