These sharp, honed razor stalks
sprouted up and mixed with broom
coat the scars of land disturbed.
Their stalks reach up and cling to trees,
stretch in tangled barbed islands,
a refuge for quail and rabbit,
snakes and mice.
I wade into the thorny waters
to pick those plump rich berries
just a stretch away,
a scratch away, a curled hand,
two subtle fingers reaching up beneath a leaf,
the juice of picked berries staining
them, rich and red, purple in the shade.
The canes move and grip my hat,
claw at the cotton shoulders of my shirt.
I pick with either hand,
held in a cocoon of time,
lost in picking,
Lost in all the tangles of a life.
I eat a few; the juice exploding on my tongue.
The dogs, tired of chasing rabbits
sit in the long dry grass beside me.
I feed them berries
and they, too, begin to pick from the lower stalks.
We gather together,
the hot sun of a blue sky and a breeze
much a part of us
berries, dogs and me.
* * *
previous publishing history:
Ygdrasil, November 2003 http://www.synapse.net/kgerken/Y-0311.HTM
Going to the Well Poetry Collection 2004 http://www.ascentaspirations.ca/goingtothewell.htm