Stacey Danner


You don’t believe he loves you, the man

who holds your hand.Who could love

so soon? He brings you in a rowboat

to an island in June. Come night he points

to owls swooping, stealthy, overhead.

He wants to sleep outdoors, by the shore.

In the shed you find the lamp, safe

inside its plastic globe. Then with tender

bellies flat on boards, you lower light

from dock to sea. Slowly

from their night houses, shrimp

and pipefish probe. Arrow worms dart.

Strangers in the dark arise, pulled

upwards by our glow. Jellyfish and sculpin:

the water now is black but packed

with things you think can’t be.

Who could love so soon as he?

He catches a lavender jelly, cradles

its light to your hand. See—

he might have said—see the life

in what you thought was just a void.



My mother picks blackberries—


the small native kind (rubus

ursinus), sweet buttons of

purple juice popping out all over

the vine.


She’s efficient, picks five to my

one, gathers the berries in palm

then pail.


These aren’t the Himalayans (rubus

discolor), mind you,with their arched

vines, swollen fruits, and invasive



These are dewberries—

trailing blackberries. The Coast

Salish scrubbed stems across

body before spirit



Mom fears berry thieves

arriving on the trail to snatch

her spoils


before she can get home and

array the tiny berries on

a cookie sheet, painstakingly

removing leaves and dirt

by hand


(washing removes the juices).


From here we’re only dough

and sugar away from pie. When

Mom is done eating, she always licks

the plate. And so, in fine native tradition,

do I.