By | 13 May 2024

My crooked driving arm takes the brunt
of the sun’s force on an endless stretch
of grey freeway that’s non-descript
except for the rush of metallic four-wheel
beasts that it herds away from an outing
in the country. At the Pick Your Own,
we swarmed like aphids on verdant forbs
that drooped heavy with clusters of ruby-ripe

fruit with crystalline gems of tepid rain
collected on saw-toothed leaves. Be gentle
I warned as greedy fingers plucked, stained
scarlet with evidence of rough handling,
as mouths sweetened and lips tinged; they
were watched by inscrutable yellow seed-eyes.
We placed all that was unbruised
in recycled ice-cream tubs, filled the boot.

We inhale now, their slow, sad fermentation
all the long voyage home, our treasure
bleeding-out, the breath of it sick with sugar
and hovering above the dash. Never mind
I say, dusk at last settled on my seared arm,
we’ll hull what’s left, corrupt the crimson
flesh with pectin, watch it billow pink cloud,
smear its viscous ghost on wholemeal toast.

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