Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

Picking Mulberries

by Tina Kessinger

You two
holding the ladder,
looking up,
as I reach
into the wide green
arms of the tree.

I pluck berries,
pass them down
to the bowl, hands
purpled with the sweet
ooze of their blood.

Precarious, this harvest,
balanced on the top rung,
the last fingers of sun lifting
off the mesa
heat surrendering
to the darkening sky.

How far we’ve come,
miles and years,
you two
with your fatal blood,
and all the ways
we survive,
to stand here like children
in the warm evening light,
picking berries.