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
She’s efficient, picks five to my
one, gathers the berries in palm
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
before she can get home and
array the tiny berries on
a cookie sheet, painstakingly
removing leaves and dirt
(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,