The Beginning of Raspberry Summer

When the earthquake hit I was slouched, with my legs
thrown over the arm of my grandmother’s chair
where I had stationed myself to her care for the summer,

trying to ignore my aunt and mother who were arguing
over the overgrown raspberry bushes left unattended
to ramble in the backyard’s blissful squalor
since my grandfather’s recent death,

thinking about nothing in particular
except maybe getting back down south
or wishing I could start up new somewhere
with a new family or a new attitude about this one

except for my grandmother, who, at that time, suffered,
stricken and heartsick from living alone; who could, at 86,
cut a hot cobbler with her tongue and put out a fire
with one eye, and who did, after the shakeup, still manage
to joke that she was the gentlest person on earth
at that moment.
My father towed my mother outdoors
to catch the news on the CB.
My aunt thought the tremor was her pacemaker,
some personal tragedy within her the rest of us would be spared
to then gather what berries were not tossed to the ground
and cut the pie without her, too, that year
my wished began to come true.


Kay Murphy
from her book Belief Blues
Portals Press, 1998

used with permission of the poet

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