We pick blackberries, dark and sweet, from between
the spiny branches of a saw-leafed bush, his hand and mine
stained and dripping, bending together in the summer sun;
baskets on our arms, we walk sandy rows of bright dimpled
strawberries, twist the fruit to roll gently into our hands,
lick the sweet juice from between our fingers;
we stretch for orange-fleshed peaches, together, calculating
our grip to pick, but not squeeze, rub off a fresh one
on our sleeve and share a half, each, to drip from our lips;
in the steamy kitchen we strip down, boil, scent the air
with sweetness you could lick off the walls, fill one empty jar
after another, sparkling in rows of geranium, tangerine, and plum.
When heat passes and the sun pulls away a bit sooner each day,
leaves begin to fall, flowers die back to the ground, we lean
a bit closer to each other to shelter our bodies from the frost
creeping into our bones, take a jar off the shelf, pop the seal,
spoon summer’s sweetness into our mouths, look across the table
into each other’s eyes and remember the picking, the pulling,
the dripping, the rolling, the staining, the squeezing, the steam,
our naked, fiery, sweet-filled summer gardens and smile,
taste the juice of one another’s lips and relish
our sweet harvest.
Sally Clark lives in Fredericksburg, Texas. Her poetry has been widely published in journals, magazines, gift books and anthologies and has won awards from poetry contests across the country. One of her poems received recognition in American Poetry Review and Poetry Magazine, and in 2017 another poem was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Follow her at http://sallyclark.info.