I will miss the strawberries

Becky Dennison Sakellariou

 

I will miss the strawberry picking

the bending, heat on our backs,

red-stained fingers, bending,

ecstatic sweetness on the tongue

bending, filling baskets.

 

And the fourth graders reading

The Declaration of Independence in the town square

We hold these truths

 

and then the raspberries, harder to pick

than the strawberries.  

You have to really want them, Rosalie tells us, soft,

falling off their buds into your fingers,

the fuzz liquefying as soon as your lips

touch them.

 

And the balloon festival, children open-mouthed,

sun in their hair, on their heads, in their eyes,

holding someone’s hand tightly, wishing to fly,

such wonder, even desire, at blue and yellow flight,

sky and shapes.

 

The roast beef supper at church, the strawberry shortcake,

the fiddles and banjos around the newly painted gazebo —

salmon and turquoise with fish and birds around the inside walls —

(in case of rain inside the Vestry),

people spread on blankets, tablecloths, oh there is Joan,

 so glad she is here, and who is that

with her? Her son, Andrew? How tall he has become.

 

And then the blueberries.  I would go like Sal did,

picking, bending, eating, clinking in buckets,

bells around our necks, maybe even a bear

and her cub, mountains of blue fruit

enough to bring home for breakfast, pies,

ice cream, even fistfuls whenever we open the refrigerator.

 

And the cupcake auction with the Hot Mustard Bluegrass Band,

later, of course, a blueberry bash to plunge into, dark mystery

of cream, teeth, chin, throat, slightly sour from the heat,

going home slowly afterwards

 

where your breath waits,

the sudden pull against my neck,

my skin moving against your tongue.

 

 

Becky Dennison Sakellariou was born and raised in New England and has lived all of her adult life in Greece. She has been “making her way home” to New Hampshire where she now spends half of every year.  She has published poetry in Beloit Poetry Review, Common Ground Review, White Pelican Review, and Passager, among othersHer chapbook, The Importance of Bone, was published by Blue Light Press and her first full-length book, Earth Listening, was published by Hobblebush Books.  Becky is passionate about language, landscape, and her grandchildren.


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