Blue, but you are Rose, too, and buttermilk, but with blood dots showing through. A little salty your white nape boy-wide. Glinting hairs shoot back of your ears' Rose that tongues like to feel the maze of, slip into the funnel, tell a thunder-whisper to. When I kiss, your eyes' straight lashes down crisp go like doll's blond straws. Glazed iris Roses, your lids unclose to Blue-ringed targets, their dark sheen-spokes almost green. I sink in Blue- black Rose-heart holes until you blink. Pink lips, the serrate folds taste smooth, and Rosehip- round, the center bud I suck. I milknip your two Blue-skeined blown Rose beauties, too, to sniff their berries' blood, up stiff pink tips. You're white in patches, only mostly Rose, buckskin and saltly, speckled like a sky. I love your spots, your white neck, Rose, your hair's wild straw splash, silk spools for your ears. But where white spouts out, spills on your brow to clear eyepools, wheel shafts of light, Rose, you are Blue.
My hands are murder-red. Many a plump head
drops on the heap in the basket. Or, ripe
to bursting, they might be hearts, matching
the blackbird’s wing-fleck. Gripped to a reed
he shrieks his ko-ka-ree in the next field.
He’s left his peck in some juicy cheeks, when
at first blush and mostly white, they showed
streaks of sweetness to the marauder.
We’re picking near the shore, the morning
sunny, a slight wind moving rough-veined leaves
our hands rumple among. Fingers find by feel
the ready fruit in clusters. Here and there,
their squishy wounds. . . . Flesh was perfect
yesterday. . . . June was for gorging. . . .
sweet hearts young and firm before decay.
“Take only the biggest, and not too ripe,”
a mother calls to her girl and boy, barefoot
in the furrows. “Don’t step on any. Don’t
change rows. Don’t eat too many.” Mesmerized
by the largesse, the children squat and pull
and pick handfuls of rich scarlets, half
for the baskets, half for avid mouths.
Soon, whole faces are stained.
A crop this thick begs for plunder. Ripeness
wants to be ravished, as udders of cows when hard,
the blue-veined bags distended, ache to be stripped.
Hunkered in mud between the rows, sun burning
the backs of our necks, we grope for, and rip loose
soft nippled heads. If they bleed—too soft—
let them stay. Let them rot in the heat.
When, hidden away in a damp hollow under moldy
leaves, I come upon a clump of heart-shapes
once red, now spiderspit-gray, intact but empty,
still attached to their dead stems—
families smothered as at Pompeii—I rise
and stretch. I eat one more big ripe lopped
head. Red-handed, I leave the field.