A Long Winter’s Tale by Doris Watts

A Long Winter’s Tale

Stopped on a siding, they spied
chokecherries weighing the branches,
clusters of purple-black berries begging
to be picked, inviting as any siren song.
And so with whatever containers
that they could find on the weigh-car,
and with the engineer – who at first said
he would wait but then was suddenly
there running right behind them –
they hightailed it through the tall grasses
and through the dust to the place
where the chokecherry bushes grew.
And they picked berries at top speed,
then scrambled back to where the engine
waited, breathing it’s impatient steam,
having gambled their jobs, for they all knew
that if they had been caught doing this,
they would certainly have been fired.
And all through the long winter months,
we ate that wine-dark jelly on breakfast toast
or fresh buttered biscuits or new-baked bread
hot from the oven, all the time pondering
the risk at which it had been bought.

by Doris Watts

Editor’s Note: Sometimes the risk of a thing sweetens it delightfully.


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