I watch as you stand at the sink,
engaged in blueberry sorting.
They are in good hands,
instantly separating ones right for you
from those that will not go forward:
each blueberry in a balancing act,
then dispatched, to heaven or hell.
You do it well.
I look on and wonder if it’s a skill
you first perfected while sorting out
your ended marriage,
that you now apply to other things.
Or is it just the opposite?
Is blueberry experience where you learn first
to separate what you only favor
from what you now know is love?
For some it’s easier to see from far away,
like the view from space between people,
which finds and focuses on what’s not there.
But your way of knowing is closer in;
weighing and turning what’s in your hands,
flesh on flesh, cautious not to confuse again
decomposition with tenderness,
or mistake a moment when
the sweet to rotten-ripe begins.
It is the hardest way.
I see in the bend of how you stand,
your thin bruise-colored skin
wrist-deep in a pan of blueberries;
rinsing and bathing what you picked.
As you dry off your hands then rinse the knife
I hear a deep breath drawing in,
then your voice say, would I like to stay?
I answer, yes, then begin to wonder what
conversation we are in, staying for berries? Staying the night?
Or staying, perhaps, for the rest of my life?
About the author:
Michael Maul is a writer whose work has appeared in various literary publications, recently including
Pentimento magazine, The Blue Lake Review, The Front Porch Review and
Bitterzoet magazine. He is currently living on Florida’s Gulf Coast, where in addition to writing he also enjoys riding his motorcycle and playing bluegrass music, albeit not at the same time.