V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





First the blue bay, then poplar ridge, flat 
stubbled field, and dune spiked with deep-rooted
grass, the lush layer of clover
and milkweed to road stones and road,
and somewhere in there, in the thick
of things, the ready berries sliding
from their stems into pickers'
coffee cans, lining the sides
with scarlet velveteen.  And the boys
picking recklessly, creaming the bushes
ahead and hooting their bites and scratches
down rows as they always have
while one girl turns berries inside out
before setting each sweet rough
nap upon her tongue.  And each one
tells the story of them all, each single orb
of glossy stain a continent, hard seed
to white flower to green thorn.  I'd bring you here
if you were the following kind, not disappeared
deep into some sour patch of business
I can't trespass.  This morning another husband
plods down a sand hill to sit on his fender
and smoke while his wife pulls handfuls of sweet
wild fruit she'll mash and freeze
to thicken with sugar and tuck
into the same luscious crust
her mother learned.  Some Sunday
in winter they'll have this day back,
with cream.  Or maybe they won't
be speaking by then; maybe it's all just
hungry speculation.  Maybe the husband hates raspberries,
all of those infinitesimal hairs, pesky seeds stuck
in his molars.  Maybe it's just
her own story she'll make, a trip to the market
for shortening and lemon, a kettle of tea, her kitchen's
sweet-sour smell as she rinses the crimson
stain from her nails, looks out
through open blinds.  The one red bird,
sparrows clumped under the feeders.
Last leaves of maple surrendering
to layers of snow. 

© by Pamela Gemin


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