I usually pick strawberries
just past dawn when golden
first stabs of sunlight pierce
the aspens and light up ripe fruits.
I just shuck my pajamas, pull shorts
and tank top over aging skin,
and walk to our overgrown patch.
Today I got distracted, didn’t start
picking until the sunlight was a cool
midmorning whiteness. Damn it all,
I thought, as I bent for a perfectly
ripe berry and gave a free show
to a couple of dog walkers and an old
guy driving slow in an Oldsmobile
floater. Why oh why did we put
the patch in the front yard
next to sidewalk and street?.
But it’s like that, isn’t it? Glimpses
of hanging fruit when wind parts
the leaves—quick peeks that stir
pure sentiments about the goodness
in life. After rinsing the berries I feed
one to my sweetheart while I eat one
myself. The tops and spoiled parts lie
in the bottom of the chamber pot
we use to collect kitchen scraps,
already manuring for the future.
—Mary Linton, Fort Atkinson, WI