78. Blackberries

For days I’ve waited, watched them ripen

through the hot blue afternoons. This morning

I wake dreaming them, waken to a swell

of greed for their taut bodies, those sweet

explosions between roof of mouth and tongue,

the weight of juice poised in my throat.

I creep outside in daybreak’s haze,

soles of my feet stealing dew from the lawn;

I’m thinking human, temporal, earthly.

A dove rises flapping and keening

from a nest a foot away, defending two pale eggs

on a bed of twigs. Nothing slows me, I pull

berry after berry from the vine, staining fingertips,

filling my mouth, fervid and wanton, certain

that even in paradise nothing could ever be enough.

— Patricia Traxler

Appeared in e: Emily Dickinson Award Anthology, Universities West Press

Author of three poetry collections including Forbidden Words (Missouri), Traxler has published her poetry widely, including in The Nation, Ms. Magazine, Ploughshares, Agni, LA Times Literary Supplement, Slate, The Boston Review, and Best American Poetry. Awards include two Bunting Poetry Fellowships from Radcliffe, Ploughshares’ Cohen Award, and a Pablo Neruda Award from Nimrod.

2 thoughts on “78. Blackberries

  1. I think the timing of the posting of this poem is excellent since the blackberry plants I am familiar with, both wild and domestic, are about ready to yield their fruit. And while I love to eat fresh blackberries, I do not lust after them. Instead, I try to pick them with great care so as not to insult their Creator.

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