fingers stained and sticky
the swollen orbs ready to burst –
some at the mere touch.
Sent out with ice cream buckets
forbid to return until full,
we rode down Charleston Beach Road –
before they widened the highway –
all the way to Jarstad park.
Blackberry bushes lined the road,
belonging to no one but little boys
riding their bikes on hot summer
Always a cluster
just out of reach, we dared
each other to go deeper.
The wounds, while self-inflicted,
were a badge of honor.
Returning like a cat
who lost a fight, prickly leaves
in our hair, scratches over hands and arms –
our fingers a deep purple
that would not wash out for days.
Presenting our treasure,
Mother said making cobbler
was a small price to pay to
get you boys out of the house.