Hands. We fill buckets
with them, full of raspberries.
My father knew her by them:
stained and scarred from
apologies that made hot pies,
tarts, puckered lips that got
wiped with the edge of a shirt.
Red. He witnessed the color
of his mother’s heart from a knife
his father used for cutting apples,
and prying the lids off of preserves.
She could not be saved from his wrath.
Love. Knowing the thorns
that catch – worth the price
for a cup of summer harvest,
my father still plants his
dreams in rows and,
beaten red by the sun,
puts ointment on
his skin which drizzles
down his back like tear streaks.
Whisper. I used to cry
thinking about it: what
sound does the ache take
on? When, as a child, the thorns
caught my finger, my
father would hold the mouth
of the wound and gently speak to it, saying: there there, let it bleed, let it bleed like this.
This is a reprint of work originally published in Stone Highway Review.
Katherine MacCue is a graduate of the George Washington University. Her poetry has been published in RiverLit, Stone Highway Review, and she has forthcoming work in The Writing Disorder. She can be found at http://kvmacc.blogspot.com.