Berry Picking

I haven’t yet tape recorded the story of my mother’s life.

Mister keeps a brisk trot,
and we compare him to our first dog:
length of legs, temperament, tolerance for heat.

Both her grandfathers were killed by the Nazis.

When we get to the garden,
our patch beside the rumble of road,
and hook the leash’s loop around a stake,
she shows me how to snip chard.

Her uncle escaped to London
and wrote letters to my Grandma in a shaky hand. 

While she unearths beets, I search the raspberry bush.
Strawberries are gemlike, but raspberries live past thorns.

Her Chicago childhood abutted a neighborhood of Poles.

She points to an upturned zucchini and I twist it loose from the stem.
Only two beets have risen enough to be pulled, and then she’s ready to go.
But some berries lie in shadows, dark as plums, ready to fall.

published in North Coast Squid, Fall 2016