Wineberries and River Hoppers
Packets of tart red orange
Explode crisply on our tongues
Instantly, pricks and scratches from thorns and brush
Encountered by the Wineberry Patrol
Melt in our mouths
A body away
Uniforms and badges sloughed
The Wineberry Patrol claims its booty
Clear our palate with rainwater.
The younger officer seven years wise
Perceives the thicket as a prize
Long before it yields its reward.
The older, seven times seven
Scars of hiking the single seven
When five when three when one
Wades through mud and brambles,
The Patrol Auxiliary cradled in the rearmost arm.
Long past the point of satiation
We pick our harvest clean
Three sets of footprints clasping
The footholds in the rock
Two sets hard, three sets easy
The waterfall awaits.
There one dives, one quakes, one comforts
The craggy pond extends its cold invitation
A ledge guards an ankle deep habitat.
There a sudden flash of silver
Casts forward from a tiny cave.
Freed from mossy boughs they
Leap to the surface with supple tail fins
The young patrolman flinches giggling.
Gathering our clothes our shoes I
Walk on snow barefoot in my mind
Berry scratches never penetrated the
Piercing tang of the sweet
I relive the memories in the snow wind
My toes still in mud
The bronze of my children still radiant