Monday, July 6, 2015

Picking Blackberries With My Daughter

We discover together a long bramble wall,
and come back on half a dozen days in August

to where there is blackberry after blackberry
for me to put in the container I bring and for her to put in her mouth.  

Is it okay to pick the red ones? Is that a bee?! Is it?!
No, it’s not a bee, it’s a wasp, I tell her. Bees, wasps -- don’t be afraid.

My three-year-old picks and picks until she’s tired
and asks me if we can go home. My container is full. 

The countless blackberries left -- for sparrows, raccoons, squirrels,  
for the air into which the fruit rots away.  

Will the blackberries be here again?
Yes, they’ll be here again, I say. They’ll vanish and reappear --

they’ll arrive, they'll go, they'll come back
through their places in the bramble,

they’ll travel from this blackberry bush to this blackberry bush.
It’s a sorrow bush. It’s a joy bush.

Can we come back here again?
Yes, we'll come back, I answer. I my way I pray we will.

We’ll come back like people with prayer notes,
and we’ll fill our hands again with blackberries.

They’ll stain your lips, tongue, chin and cheek with their juice,
they’ll explain you like the wine that you will one day drink.

Whatever we ask for, whatever words we use, 
the blackberries will be here, like prayers that grow in empty spaces.   

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