I plunge into the woods. I'm half prepared,
not dressed for this, in shorts and sleeveless blouse,
but lust impels me through the sultry air:
berries in neighbor's woods behind my house.
I've brought a wooden basket for my sweets.
Brambles scratch my arms and thighs but I don¡¦t care.
The canes are branching, rooting their green tips
in forest floor; decay and new life meet.
Wind lifts elm branches, sunlight rustles there ¡V
I crave these berries as I crave your lips.
I know my crime, and what it means to steal:
poached fruits taste extra sweet for coming free.
(As what I feel for you is sweet to feel;
to thickets of delight the theft leads me.)
My husband and my daughter call my name.
Silent, I hide in shame behind the barn.
They're thirty yards and half a world away.
City girl, my daughter will not brave
the brambles for a prize, stays safe from harm.
My husband is content to let me stray.
The joy and pain of loving you are wed
as brambles are to berries, sweet and sharp,
and though another species might be bred,
it would not have the taste that takes my heart.
My only comfort, love, is season's end.
A few short weeks, the trees will be on fire
instead of me. Last fruits, rotting on the cane,
will feed the birds. We'll call each other friend,
and I won't even think of this desire
till berry season maddens me again.