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Boysenberries

You planted them when seven -

carving out the soil in minute scoops,

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gazing at the taut, white roots

as I dropped the plants into the earth.

You tended them with care until thirteen,

reaping the tart fruit

in small purple handfuls. Then

they went a little wild.

After the first year of college

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you work on your knees, like a supplicant

serving an ancient altar,

clipping away the woody branches

grown intricate through the ivy,

and with patient fingers trace

the soft shoots onto a new trellis

tying each in place, as if it were the food

that would feed you for years to come.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society