On Picking Blackberries

I pluck a berry—it’s forgiving and tender—
and raise it to my lips. I want to eat it now, feel
the fuzz and seeds on my tongue.

My husband understands how to slow his mind,
how to savor and resist temptation. He paces
the rows, peers into the brush, contemplates fruit.

He is selective, gentle in his picking. I grab
and tear. He coaxes berries from their vines. He resists
the urge to stomp on rotten fruit. Like a child,

he squats and examines a discarded ant-covered
berry, the flesh freshly torn by teeth from before.
He sees what I cannot: the weight of a berry,

its gravity and sweetness. I am greedy
and wish to consume all that is bright. But he lingers
over blossoms, finds fragrance and pauses to inhale.

He does not flinch, he does not recoil
when his fingers brush against a beetle—
no, he marvels, squints at its shimmering body.

Let him stay like this forever: delicate, sunlit,
and gentle. Let me remember his soft hands
cradling these blackberries, each one a tiny prayer.

Whitney G. Schultz