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Early Berry Picking
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It’s only April and we’re already picking berries,
mother and daughter among the other mothers
and daughters at Waller’s you-pick-’em field.

I carry the cardboard tray and white-ribboned marker
while she canters down the row, hopping the beds,
even when I tell her no. She is happiest on a horse,

or being one. We have read the instruction sheet,
which grows more detailed every year—pick only the ripe ones,
and pick all you see, pinching the stems, not capping them—

but it’s no use: she doesn’t like the lovely
hand-shaped ones I take, and I can’t get her
to part the leaves and seek the mass of tiny, perfect

“strawbabies.” It is only the beginning
of our differences. I know that. Today
at school was “Life Talks,” and now she doesn’t want to talk;

she isn’t hungry, but every fifth berry goes into her mouth
until her chin runs with juice. That’s a dead giveaway,
I say—we will have to pay extra at the scales.

And afterward, the air in the car will stink with them
and us. We are full to overflowing now.
I place the flag—keep setting limits.

Andrea Selch  

Andrea Selch’s poems have been published in Calyx, The MacGuffin, and Prairie Schooner. She is the author of Startling, and the small collection of ekphrastic poems, Boy Returning Water to the Sea: Koans for Kelly Fearing. Since 2002, she has directed Carolina Wren Press.

Copyright © 2014 Louisiana State University Press
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Andrea Selch. "Early Berry Picking." Southern Review 50.2 (2014): 175-176. Project MUSE. Web. 25 Apr. 2014. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Selch, A.(2014). Early Berry Picking. Southern Review 50(2), 175-176. Louisiana State University Press. Retrieved April 25, 2014, from Project MUSE database.
Andrea Selch. "Early Berry Picking." Southern Review 50, no. 2 (2014): 175-176. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed April 25, 2014).
T1 - Early Berry Picking
A1 - Andrea Selch
JF - Southern Review
VL - 50
IS - 2
SP - 175
EP - 176
PY - 2014
PB - Louisiana State University Press
SN - 2168-5541
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/southern_review/v050/50.2.selch.html
N1 - Volume 50, Number 2, Spring 2014
ER -


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