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  • Writer's pictureC. Jensen

work in progress: Blackberries

Berry picking is always an opportunity

to reflect on how

even the slightest changes in perspective

can bear more fruit

to the eye,

to the fingertip,

to the hot, hungry mouth

parched under the July sun.

Turning my head just slightly to the side

I see more black

shining beautiful, under leaf,

through a gauntlet of

threatening threads. They smell




ripe and dry.

Picking barely black berries near

their thorns

I am painfully


of my oft-painful relationship with my mother,

but only because I don't have

my mother's green thumb.

These berries grow wild and hearty

regardless of my care or intuition.

These self-sufficient

blobs so beautifully suspended in the air

on their prickly green lace arcs

under their canopies of velvety leaves

also prickly,

thorned, spiked.

Gentle, strong green

structures holding me

aloft. A protective canopy

against bear, bird, storm,

debris, scratched human hand

black line under the finger


So, aspiring,

am I green with envy?

I turn new leaves so green

they glow yellow, over.

I find borne there, even more

fruit just beyond the raw,

visceral magenta of:

Not ready.

Not yet.

Wait, please.

Please, listen:

The abrasion red of the thorn path

blends into the juice

and vegetal residue.

What is delicious and what is abhorrent?

Is this blood or is this a blackberry?

I wish I could pick

these blackberries

without sentiment,

without thinking.

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