A large woman in a pink vest
and a red straw hat said
I said that’s no way to treat your mother,
I said, even though it’s none of my business,
I said, but still. And she apologized to Bob and I,
and I said that’s okay, but I said I wish
you’d think before you talk, I said.
And a grandmother enthusiastically explained
When we get home we’ll read
Blueberries for Sal and this time
you’ll really appreciate it, except
that here there are no bears.
And the child said No bears?
And she said Oh, not really.
Ah, but there are bears. Right here.
They move through the berries, disguised,
picking and stuffing, whatever they like.
There is one across from you, for example,
you’re looking toward her right now
in the very next row. She is picking,
all absorbed, it would it seem, by the fruit.
But Daddy saw footprints. . .
You kids get over here. . .
What dear? No, I’m not finished yet. . . .
I’m too hot. I’m going back to the shade. . .
Last time I saw you, you couldn’t climb the bus steps. . .
We don’t have time today because you need a haircut. . .
And I said, the next time you come, I said. . .
And solemn, my eyes on my work,
I picked and picked, the blue bucket
tied around my waist, both paws
busy between the leaves, taking in
quarts and quarts of the stuff,
determined to gather every little bit
before the winter hush.