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Christine Natale

Rookie (August 9,1955 / Glen Ridge, New Jersey)

Berry Picking


Northwest mist hides soft fir tree horizon.
We drive around curves through cold violet gray.
The day never really changes;
A full day of morning.

An abandoned field full of purple prickles;
Thrilling prospect - old boxes, old clothes -
We stop the car, hesitating to face
The violet rain waiting for us.

Shivers of early autumn delicious down our arms
Slight dismay - gazing at the emptiness of our boxes
Wondering if there are enough berries to fill them fully
And whether we will find them.

Down the old rows, once owned
By someone farming full time
Now the delight of weekend purple pickers in the rain
Prickles scratching fingers, thumbs,
Pathetic but persistent attack.

Black and blue - look - juicy and big
And calling you just a little beyond
Keep picking, tasting, laughing
Holding conversation among the fairy bushes.
Who may be listening?

Hours pass - purple inside and out
Full boxes of future jam and mashed bugs
Home again - sharing hot baths and flannel,
Sausages and beer
Warming up - tired and triumphant
Basking in violet grey fall friendship.

Submitted: Saturday, July 26, 2008

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