by: Mark Jarman
The children are hiding among the raspberry canes.
They look big to one another, the garden small.
Already in their mouths this soft fruit
That lasts so briefly in the supermarket
Tastes like the past. The gritty wall,
Behind the veil of leaves, is hollow.
There are yellow wasps inside it. The children know.
They know the wall is hard, although it hums.
They know a lot and will not forget it soon.
When did we forget? But we were never
Children, never found where they were hiding
And hid with them, never followed
The wasp down into its nest
With a fingertip that still tingles.
We lie in bed at night, thinking about
The future, always the future, always forgetting
That it will be the past, hard and hollow,
Veiled and humming, soon enough.
Well, it has turned cold and gray again in my little corner of the Upper Peninsula. However, I am not letting go of those two days of summer that we've just experienced. Yesterday was June or July. Kids were out playing in the streets. My son spent a couple hours throwing baseballs and jumping off playground swings last night.
I remember raspberries in summer. My wife's mom and dad had raspberry bushes in their backyard. In July and August, the fruit would be full and heavy on the branches, and it attracted all kinds of stinging insects--bees and wasps. Going to pick the berries was an adventure in possible anaphylactic shock. We would head out to harvest them with buckets and keen ears for the whine of pissed off yellowjackets.
Like Jarman, raspberries make me think of the past, of being a child under a July sun. I had a homemade raspberry bar last week, made from berries frozen last year.
Taking a bite made Saint Marty believe in summer again.