Dear Raspberry Patch

by Angeline Schellenberg

I’m sorry I left you there.
Suddenly, my parents are old.

Every spring I meant to save
one of your canes. Heaven
knows there was enough
of you to go around.
Your invasiveness, utterly forgivable.

My parents have arranged
themselves in a four-story condo,
a single tomato plant in the sunroom.

Strangers pick up their mail
from my parents’ box.
Strangers say goodnight
to their child in my childhood
bedroom. From the road,
I cannot see if they have tilled you under.

I have just the spot.
My children and I could have
gone out our backdoor in our pajamas
with our bowls of Shreddies,
plucked five berries each to match
the picture on the box.

I may as well confess,
when I was a child, you frightened me.
Your brambles etching
my wrists. Your coven of bees,
their reckless self-protection.

But how I grew to love the aha!
of your turning leaves,
your crocheted fruit slipping
gracefully from pale
mannequin heads.

Delicate thimbles
of bonhomie tumbled
into my outstretched hands.

— from Juniper Volume 3, Issue 1