Hazel, 16, Eats Blackberry Pie

Hazel, 16, Eats Blackberry Pie

Hazel, 16, Eats Blackberry Pie 1920 1280 Sara Cassidy

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The house is tucked in.
Lights off, doors locked,
curtains sealed, shoes subdued.
I’m in bed reading Coetzee
who, as my sister says,
always leaves you suicidal.
Hazel’s bedroom door clicks.
Her bare feet stroke the hallway floor.
The cutlery drawer unsticks.
She’s not bothering with a plate
or the pie server I once
polished before her eyes
so she could witness silver rise.
I give too many lessons.
She eats standing. Or floating.
My girl is ten feet tall and crowned
with the shining hair
of my Icelandic grandmother
who smirks in the old photos
as if saying don’t be fooled:
it is bright with colour here.

The pie is my best ever,
the berries from the bog where
red-winged blackbirds
ride the tops of bullrushes.
Sixteen years ago, I’d be there
late summer evenings with
Hazy on my back, picking
until only moonlight’s gloss
parted the berries from night.
I’d later lower her into bed,
her mouth bruised with juice.
Now she scrapes her fork
along the bottom of the dish
drops the fork, chiming in the sink.
Now she steps into the shower
humming a sunlit dirge.

Header photograph © Elizabeth Hart Bergstrom.

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