Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Blackberry Winter

This poem seems appropriate now, with the cool June days we've been having - more or less - not so cool perhaps as indicated in the poem (which appears, by the way, in my book, Marjorie Main: Rural Documentary Poetry, Mesa Verde Press, 1999, $8.95, available on amazon.com and, in Indianapolis, at the Indiana Historical Society gift shop).


blackberry winter my wife calls it
when june turns cold after hot may
and sweaters are unfolded
when not already mothballed
and coffee cups are held in two hands
as we purr in the chilled sunlight
fighting its way
through the window glass
to get inside to its own warmth

blackberry winter she calls it
and I remember picking berries
and seeing my pigment change
finding relief in standing up
and rubbing the small of my back
and arching my usual stooped shoulders
backwards wanting it all somehow
to snap and pop into place
but instead bending over once again
to reach for the stainers of my fingers
privately throwing some now and then
into my mouth
and later grinning away my secret
by showing my two tone teeth

blackberry winter:
a nice name for a respite
before the sidewalks
fry eggs for front pages
and the intensity of the weather
again becomes the first thing
one mentions when one walks
through dark wooden screen doors
marked wonder bread and welcome
greeted by sure hot ain't it
and you say sure is
before you dare ask for
whatever you want to carry back
into that heat that reminds you
not of other hot times
but of your wife smiling at you
across the ray of sunshine
holding her coffee cup
in her strong brown hands
telling you of the
blackberry winters of her youth