Blue Blackberry Farm of Acton, Maine: a poem

Blue Blackberry Farm of Acton, Maine

A morning on Nana’s farm started with a hiss
of crêpe batter hitting hot black stone
and my brother drumming on a metal
bucket, Lula’s milk sloshing in response,
echoing an off-beat rhythm to the lazy
drops of water, dripping from the gutter
we spent hours cleaning out the day before.
Mornings started with the gravel bunching up
beneath the soles of our rubber boots, the wet
sand filling up the tiny gaps. And it was always
just Nana and the two of us in the summer.

Mom was too busy with work, flying to New York
or to London, or signing contracts in China, bringing
back fountain pens from every city she went to.
Key chains were too tacky for her.

Dad stayed in Manhattan. He hated this farm.
He said if we grew up here for sixteen years,
we’d understand. It might have been livable
if Nana did more with the property, but he said
the farm’s never changed in sixteen years.

That idea must have stuck with us because
we asked her one day if she’d ever get Lula
a husband cow, build a chicken coup
and maybe get some chickens. And then
we asked if she could plant more blackberry
thistles, so we’d finally have enough
to bake more than one pie.

She didn’t talk about a second cow
or expanding her farm, no planting
more blackberry bushes. Instead, she
brought us a half-eaten pie, asking us
to finish it. We each had one slice,
right before we all retired on her old, blue-
lilac couch, too full to eat anymore.
Our bellies were stuffed and she smiled,
as if to prove one pie would always be more,
Lula was plenty, and the farm would forever
be big enough to house the three of us.

 

 

 

 

 

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