Wednesday, July 9, 2008


After Weeding

I like to come to the end of a row

having released hundreds of plants

from the choking crowd of weeds,

to see them stand in their straggly line

feeling the sun’s full heat again;

to stretch my cramped limbs,

slap the loose soil from my dirty trousers,

and wipe the warm sweat from my neck and forehead

leaving a wide smear on my sleeve.

I like to drain the last drops of lukewarm water

from a wide-mouthed mason jar,

then pick my barefoot way to the rows of raspberries,

to find the first strong red among the dark green leaves,

to lift each drooping, un-pruned stalk

in search of more,

and smash with my tongue their slow sweetness.

I like to slip them from their pale, hard stems

into a cupped palm,

then roll them into the water jar

until it’s crammed full of moist color,

thinking of shortcake and cool whipped cream;

to twist the sandy lid back on,

collect my shoes at the garden gate,

and walk back slowly toward the house,

holding the jar by the ridged gold top

and swinging the sun-warmed shoes by the strings,

with the tops of the socks wilting over the sides.

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