To the Blackberries

To the Blackberries 

by Cam M. Roberts

When summer left me,
late September came soon enough
while shortening the days.  Time felt a long bluff
hedged as pies and cobblers were undercooked
like a baby’s early bloom from crevice
and earthen womb to the raw fading light
entombing day to novice night –

I would walk barefoot through rural tufts
in the fallow field with my white heels
tender to the touch, crusting and crackling,
as I resolved towards the fringe of forest,

And there always stood this time of year
a solitary thicket of blackberry bushes,
burning with wilderness:
The ethereal foliage thick
with decadence.  It loomed candescently
in the all-consuming scene, and the yonder ambience
in those last remnants of evening’s hovering glow
was like a consequence of carnal sin
lingering in an aching mind.

The plump blackberries hung like hooks
with blackened caution and yearning,
the nooks and fissures had swollen veins
on the brink of hemorrhaging – Their polyps
a shade heavier than elongating shadow.

I would sacrifice my naked arms
to the altar of briers; those brambles
plucking at my skin like cannibal teeth.
Prickly were the thistles and I would bleed,
but just in trickles.  And those smears
of crimson I endured from reaching
into the vastitudes of sporadic boughs,
their wreathes all gnarled and derelict.  The berries
would gaze through twigs and leaves to expose
the clusters of their bloodshot bodies –

Those stark berries wept and splurged,
the ripeness so delicate they cried
their insides out; their Gloucester gapes
discharging an agony of rouged tears.

I would pull out my arms to find
some berries had blighted, while others
were blushing with a pulsing bulge
as if some heart was on the verge
of blistering open, and the slightest breath
would splay the woeful skin of berries –

I could never tell my own blood
from the sticky fluids of aborted berries
until I would taste it,
and then I would cry
for the blackberries
had been made and then taken away
so suddenly
just as another summer had passed
away from my life –


© CMR, 2012