Hello, Goodbye

Off you go on your tractor to split the wood.
Seems I’m always hailing you from a distance,
you at your work, I at mine watching you,
recording your work on a day in spring
that is already looking through summer
to the cold trap of winter beyond, knowing
the flare of color in fall a brief fire
that will not last but will end as we will––
brown and sere––pushed off our branch
by the buds of another spring.

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Fooling My Mother

Deep summer hung purple
from brambles in the blackberry patch
as we ate berries three at a time
grew violet mustaches and birthed freckles
in the space of an August afternoon.

Our teeth accustomed to Turkish Taffy
Bit-o-Honey and squirrel bars
we marveled at the sweetness freed
by a simple caress of the tongue.

The dropping sun reminded us
of what our mother had said,
Fill up your pails.
I’ll make jam and pancakes tomorrow.

Too late. The berries almost gone
someone said, Fill the pails with grass
with berries on top. She’ll never know.

My brain drips blackberry juice.
My fingers are stained beneath the skin.
If I squeeze my heart with my hand
it comes out purple.