Picking Raspberries on My 60th Birthday

Once I was a raspberry wife.

In our own back yard the patch bloomed and fruited.

You liked to prune but hated to harvest.

Picking raspberries is so sensual:

color as it deepens from red to garnet

signifying full sugar,

the pebbled nipple of fruit

must yield to gentle touch.

Like all fruit

it lets go when ready to be taken.

The jeweled thimble slips easily from the pale cone

when the sweetness is potent.

Sometimes the color is right, but the berry won’t come off.

Sometimes still bright red, but you can see it’s loosened its hold,

awaits your touch.

Gentle your fingers, go slowly.

Don’t shake the ripe ones to the ground.

You can tell right away.

If you squeeze too hard, the berries turn to blood.

If you gather too many,

you can lose the best of all

while reaching for another.

September 2010

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