Late August humdrum heat hanging
from brittle bushes by the nearly dried-up crick
We smell them first — floral warmth and woody delicacy–
astonished by this incense rising
unwilled and wild from the thicket.
Pulled feet-first into the cool,
we reach high for these deep purple orbs
some so ripe they crumble,
each crowned with thorns.
People will ask about the lash marks on our legs,
the stain beneath our nailbeds for days to come.
Another scent rises metallic and earthy.
We pull away sharply as our wrists catch and knuckles scrape
–some of our bounty topples into the trickle below.
We nurse our wounds, wash our hands of this sacrifice.
Hours later we emerge from the shade
of this weeping garden to scale the bald hill
down which water and berry and blood
all together flow.