Pick Your Own

On our thirtieth anniversary
Martha and I pick raspberries under a hazy sun
Down a New Hampshire country road,
Its stone fences as random, you would say, as God’s plan.
The owner greets us, cheerful, with a Norwegian lilt,
Proud of the organic farming
Which matters more to her than to us:
Her psychiatrist husband smiles over new potatoes, between clients:
They lead a nice life here, we think.
We move up and down the rows,
Bobbing like buoys on a gently rippled pond,
Baucis and Philemon among the raspberry bushes,
Our baskets heaped up with crimson berries and love’s gentle certainty.
Vivaldi issues from the farmhouse.
A teenager rides off on her bicycle, smiling:
A client maybe, perhaps their granddaughter.
We ease out onto the road,
Careful lest the road heaves disturb our cargo.
The doctor wipes his brow and waves
As they inspect fresh-picked squash:
One might envy them their lives, and us ours.

Previously published in Cold Mountain Review.

Robert Demaree, a retired educator, is the author of four collections, including Mileposts (2009), published by Beech River Books. He has had over 550 poems published in 125 periodicals. Robert’s “At The Laundry” and “Seascape” are also in Reprint.

Object(s) to bring back to life: “I write this on the day before Christmas 2012 and think I would bring back to life the cedars people in North Carolina used for Christmas trees in the 1940s, holiday trips to my grandparents’ when I was the Yankee cousin who didn’t like grits. Cedar trees gave way to Scotch pines and then to Fraser and Douglas firs that fill a room. This morning, outside our door at Golden Pines, two cedars grow wider and taller even as I grow shorter. They wear strings of white lights that do not reach as high as they used to. They consider this a better use of their time, unmindful of the sacrifices of their forebears.”