In August heat, we carried six-quart baskets
to the roundabout where buyers waited for blueberries,
and for teenage girls who’d joyride for free, as if
we were barrens needing only a lightning strike
or fire to give ourselves up. We stood by
our baskets, berries fanned-clean of leaves, buds,
defended the price while the men teased,
low-balled. Our words burst, the way they do
when one spends months hungering for beauty.
We finger-saluted their going. Except,
the one time a boy-man with soft slippery skin
turned up not to buy, but sell summer salvation,
promised you that wild berries in Tennessee
were bigger and sweeter, easier to come by.
About “Hungering”: I grew up in a small northern town. The summer brought an influx of blueberry buyers, preachers, and hitchhikers. This poem stems from that time.
Louisa Howerow‘s latest poems appeared in The Nashwaak Review, Marathon Literary Review and Antiphon. Her poetry has also been included in anthologies, most recently, I Found It at the Movies: An Anthology of Film Poems (Guernica Editions) and Imaginarium 3: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing, 2014 (ChiZine Publications).