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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.

Photo by Ulvi Safari on Unsplash

Sarah Kalthoff Sims

Sarah (Kalthoff) Sims is a Midwest-raised, Pacific Northwest-based poet. She holds a B.A. in English from Hope College. When she is not writing, Sarah teaches middle schoolers, supports small-scale agriculture, and tirelessly taste-tests the pies her husband creates. Sarah is currently a Master’s of Fine Arts Candidate at Seattle Pacific University. You can find her recent work in Ekstasis Magazine and Collision Magazine.