Simic’s “Night Picnic” takes place on the grass on a very dark looking at the vast starless sky. The narrator finds it slightly ironic that in such a situation, he and his companion should be drinking red wine and nibbling a crust.
Wine and bread suggest communion, but may also suggest Simic’s ambivalence of humans’ “cosmic insignificance,” love, the existence of God.
There was a sky, starless and vast–
Home of every one of our dark thoughts–
ts door open to more darkness.
And you, like a late door-to-door salesman,
With only your own beating heart
In the palm of your outstretched hand.
All things imbued with God’s being—
(She said in hushed tones
As if his ghost might overhear us)
The dark woods around us,
Our faces which we cannot see,
Even this bread we are eating.
You were mulling over particulars
Of your cosmic insignificance
Between slow sips of red wine.
In the ensuing quiet, you could hear
Her small sharp teeth chewing the crust–
And then finally, she moistened her lips.
See Charles Simic. Night Picnic: Poems. New York Harcourt, Inc., 2001