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Strawberries
by
Ginny Lowe Connors


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No pumped-up, tasteless decorator
berries here, just this thin box
warped and stapled, heavy with its heap
of small fruit, radiantly red.
 
When I hand over a few bills
to the freckled girl stretching
her long legs toward me, I feel I’ve gotten
away with something—
 
I’m five again, Mother busy
inside with the baby, and I’ve made myself
scarce, stretched out on my belly
in our garden patch, sandy soil
 
warm as a body holding me. The house
with its sad smell of milk, diapers
soaking in a pail— it’s off in the distance now,
nearly disappeared. I’m snaking my hand
 
into the ticklish leaves to pluck
a sun-warmed berry, popping
it into my mouth. And another. Another.
No waiting till later. I don’t have to be
 
patient; I don’t have to be good.
No bigger than the tip of my thumb,
sweet berries in their little green caps,
fragrant, beaded with tiny seeds—
 
Birds have picked some over already,
leaving, not holes exactly, but glimpses
of tender white bellies, unadorned.
When I touch the messy edge of one
 
it feels like a secret I shouldn’t know.
My fingers are stained. I admire them,
lick them a little, feel tension
in the stem as I pull at another berry.
 
My teeth carry the flesh to my pleasured
tongue, and juice keeps the sweetness
going. The seedy nubs give just enough
resistance. Everything I want.



This poem first appeared in Long River Run.
Used here with permission.

 

 

 

 


Ginny Lowe Connors is a retired English teacher and the author of four full-length poetry collections and a chapbook, Under the Porch, which won the Sunken Garden Poetry Prize. She runs a small poetry press, Grayson Books, and is co-editor of Connecticut River Review. Ginny has also edited a number of poetry anthologies, including Forgotten Women: A Tribute in Poetry. Learn more about her at www.ginnyloweconnors.com.

              

 


Post New Comment:
Maren O. Mitchell:
Ginny, thank you for this gift of living memories. They live now for your readers.
Posted 07/09/2020 10:59 PM
Jancan:
Vividly descriptive and appealing
Posted 07/09/2020 04:06 PM
Tracers645:
You made me feel 5 again, too. Thank you for sharing!
Posted 07/09/2020 02:50 PM
CamilleBalla:
Washing, cutting, and eating strawberries will never be the same after reading this very well crafted poem. �Sad smell of milk, diapers...� so precise, so revealing, as finney wrote.
Posted 07/09/2020 12:09 PM
Jean Colonomos-1:
I can taste your strawberries.
Posted 07/09/2020 11:12 AM
Cathy’s Sister:
We were able to purchase some strawberries at a local farm in May. What a difference from the grocery store offerings with their �pumped up, tasteless decorator berries!.� Enjoyable poem,
Posted 07/09/2020 10:45 AM
barbsteff:
I too am captivated by the "I don't have to be patient. I don't have to be good." line. Wonderful picture in this poem.
Posted 07/09/2020 09:43 AM
peninsulapoet:
Delicious poem. Wish I had some strawberries for my Cheerios--tasteless blueberries from Costco will have to do.
Posted 07/09/2020 09:36 AM
mail@schoolbusmart.com:
You brought me down there in the dirt, child-eye level, with that wonderful felt sense of what it was like to be picking, eating, tasting, and finger-licking. Bravo. Randy
Posted 07/09/2020 09:29 AM
Nabby Dog:
This is a stunning poem filled with such great vivid images. What a delicious gift to start the day!
Posted 07/09/2020 09:04 AM
Gilbert Allen:
I like the way the present moment and the childhood memory illuminate one another.
Posted 07/09/2020 08:50 AM
michael escoubas:
Really like the details in this poem and the sweet lusciousness of feeling and tasting. I've lived this and this poem returns me to the patch.
Posted 07/09/2020 08:31 AM
finney@charter.net:
�...it feels like a secret I shouldn�t know.� What a delicious phrase, Ginny. And �...sad smell of milk, diapers soaking in a pail...�, an image so precise and revealing.
Posted 07/09/2020 07:08 AM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
I love this picturesque nostalgia poem. I can see the vibrant red strawberries, smell them and taste them. Very well crafted poem.
Posted 07/09/2020 06:09 AM


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