Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Reservoir blackberries

I'm not always in the right mood for poetry, but when I am, it's like a key finding a lock.

Today, I'm in the mood for it, able to be at work but still in the simmering aftermath of a badly sprained ankle. It's rainy and muggy, just the right pressure combo for me to have a headache at the edges of things, driven off partially by the ibuprofen taken for the ankle. But I can't take anything else, at least not for a few hours. So.

I read Sylvia Plath's "Blackberrying", led there by arcane Internet means, as it goes.  Sylvia Plath is one of the poets who pass the test with me anyway, but "Blackberrying" has something about it that I craved today, I guess. Perhaps my own memories of picking blackberries, though I never went with a bucket to gather them. No, my father and I would stop and pick some, eating as we went, when we were fishing at the reservoir.

We weren't supposed to be at that reservoir, of course; nobody was. But again, as things go, there was a traditional hole cut in the fence by generations of partyers and fisherpeople, we always caught and released, sometimes he brought cans of beer but mostly not. Mostly it was he and I and some soda, tacklebox replete with lures and a pair of pliers. At the far end, through the water, you could see the sunfish beds, and they would nibble at your ankles and toes if you stood there.

The blackberries would be in rocky bushes by the road the reservoir maintenance people use, a ring or maybe a horseshoe around the water. I crave the taste of those blackberries each time I buy a plastic box of them at the story, but they're never just so. Sun warmed, sweat salty, watery breeze, it's all missing. I can't very well buy a pint of air conditioned grocery store blackberries and leave them on the porch for awhile, hope they reach that fat soft stage where they velvet apart in your fingers and the seeds are sand grit between your teeth. I can't go back to fishing with my father at the yellow dirt-sandy reservoir, catch and release, the pride of the first time I was able to get a fish off the hook myself, firm and slippery in my palm, be careful of the fin.

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