The puppies are restless this morning,
Wrestling and bouncing and whining,
Hungry for the walk they can’t have.
Hermina’s rain bands reached us
Last night in the middle of REM sleep.
My dreams played cymbals
For the thunder that shook the windows,
Shook Moose from his rest.
Pillow in hand, I sat next to his crate,
Singing the songs I had sung to my children
When it was dark and they were afraid.
Lewis Farms up the road
In Rocky Point, which is neither rocky nor pointed,
Lets you pick your own
Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries
For $3.25 a pound, a bargain
Price for fresh fruit.
The car takes you off the exit
To boundless rows of furrowed mounds
Of low plantings ready for picking.
Blackberries grow on racing tendrils
Laced with too many stinging thorns
And too many memories of plucking
Wild blackberries in boggy gulleys
By the highway, watching for snakes,
Bearing the hard gusts of semis
That rushed by,
To ever pay
For the privilege of eating
Something so seedy and tart.
Red fruit fills the first basket,
The first flat and others follow
Blue fruit fills the first basket,
The first flat and too many follow.
Still you keep on
Picking these bargains, paying the price
With a popping back, twisting from
Stooping, thigh and ass muscles aching,
Sneaking the occasional berry
To taste for ripeness until the flavor
Still, the plucking and tasting keep on,
Because now it’s all about the picking,
Basket after basket,
Flat after flat,
Row after row.
Row beyond row.
I think of the path
The dogs and I take
Every morning and evening exactly.
One point six miles precisely.
Manicured houses like mausoleums
Faces of persons I nod to but do not know
My unquenched hunger,
When it’s dark and I am afraid,
To plow under
The endless circle of the neighborhood.
Path after path,
Street after street,
Road beyond road,
And sow them with blackberry vines, sharp and wild.