Kay’s Kitchen

by Ann E. Wallace

I remembering running,
toward the house, up the back steps
and into the kitchen, blood bubbling
from tiny seams up and down
my bare arms, traced across my face.
My pail of berries lay abandoned
in the briars, or maybe I clung to it
stubbornly in the way that a small child
holds onto the things she loves.

A brother may have run with me,
anxious to recuse himself of blame,
spilling the story to my mother and Kay,
as they sipped tea in the warm kitchen
and talked about tomato seedlings,
the League of Women Voters, and children,
how I wandered so far into
the bushes, reaching for one raspberry,
then another, that I became ensnared,
how the sharp vines hooked and snagged
my flesh as I flailed myself out the patch.

In her overflowing and messy kitchen, Kay
and my mother gently wiped my bloody tears,
dabbed at my arms with a damp cloth,
smiling at my singular focus
and at a love of berries so fierce
that I could not feel the pain
of each tiny skin prick.

— from Juniper Volume 1, Issue 3