Blueberry Patch

We’re in this field that’s really rows of stooped
bodies, of smalltime thieves, like blue-stained
Laney who won’t stop saying, just one more,
like she knows this is the place everyone’s looking for
because each little world on the tongue tastes
like it’s filled with all the good things, like childhood
summer days that never end, like keeping both feet
in for the win, spiking the ball, like Ann’s soft
touch and, each time before she nods okay,
mom’s eyes fly around like black birds trapped
in small white skies, like they have to keep turning back
or they’ll thump the sides, like she’s worried
someone might think she approves of sneaking,
the way she slips one in at the end of her smile,
and dad’s off working the tall bushes, like he’s hungry
for something he just can’t find so he fills
the bucket until it’s time to go, but, even later,
setting dinner plates at the table, all thru the meal,
passing the cobbler, the berries, the thick whipped cream,
it’s like he’s in this patch, somewhere in his mind,
searching just beyond his blue fingertips,
not the way a person does if he’s lost
his one good thing, but like it hasn’t happened yet,
like it isn’t here with us, like maybe it never was.

(first published in culinary journal Gastronomica,
originally written for the YA novel-in-verse A Boy Called Mo)