The Forum Prize
The Moon of Ripe Blackberries
...Some say the world will end in fire,
some say in ice....
I calculate the years’ passage
not from December to December
but from one June of blackberries
to the next,
which this year has happened
before the summer solstice,
probably because it’s been in the 90s
for two weeks, but maybe it will be hot
until the end of the world
since Mars is not an aesthetic god,
but an insatiable one,
awakened by our fracture of the planet—
and we know whose side he’s on.
The Labrador lived through fourteen
Moons of Ripe Blackberries,
and I hold eating as a more pleasant way
to contemplate endings than ice or fire
and so I pray it:
Thank you, Great Spirit, that on June 9
we sample this year’s premier crop
with crimson-stained fingers
and tongue affronted by slight tartness
while the flies tease and a copperhead
coils his wrinkled self on brown leaves
beneath the berries.
Thank you that we still live.
Blackberries, said Grandma Lillie,
are a summer tonic,
better than rhubarb.
Today I found ten.