U-Pick Blueberries

By Amanda Boyle


In late-July sun

my mother and I

kneel in the

dry, sandy earth

staining our knees

with crushed blueberries

as we drop plump fruit

in our bucket

and I shove fistfuls

in my mouth.


The sun bakes my neck

and the voices of my aunts

two rows over

drift on the heavy air.


sister has become trapped

with a man

who doesn’t love her

and two young children

inadvertently hold her hostage.


My mother’s silence

noticed only by me

as I pluck the berries

from the bottom of the bush

my hands stained purple

as her bruised heart

that wants to believe

it is still loved.