The blackberry pickers
My mother and my nana show me
Onyx gems where they hide
Under dying leaves. Blackberries.
I remember the pinny Mum wore,
Its stained paisley bib. I remember
The whistle of the four o’clock train,
The ocean’s parallel hum,
The smell of the muddy bog,
The drain’s stink
Wherever it seeped from cracks
In the red-brick tiles. I remember
On the backs of my legs the print
of stamped iron from the high seat
Of an old seeder, a derelict
Farm implement parked
Under draughty trees, its cold, metal seat
The one I chose to sit in and read
A whole book. In time we are all losers.
Eating back then a blackberry’s
Beaded cushion, my tongue,
My teeth, boring down to the core of it,
Its tiny wooden heart.
Kay McKenzie Cooke