At the Mennonite auction, flats of blueberries, whole and plump, big as nickels, tempt me. My hand itches to filch one or two off the top-heavy pint closest to me. Just to hold its taste on my tongue; let its sour melt into sweetness, with my eyes closed. I know how to savor stolen fruit from god-fearing farmers whose fingernails hold that trace of dirt like mine. We’ve each had our share. Two lots away, an auctioneer yammers a confusion of dollars and cents, nodding at tickets that bid in a wink, a grunt, a shrug. Someone smiles; another flicks his ticket against his pant leg and purses his lips. A barefoot baby girl in a purple cotton dress has danced on tiptoe over to my lot. She sees what I want and wants it too. One or two blueberries is all she takes before her grandmother notices what she’s done. Best not to make a scene, the grandmother takes the baby’s hand and leads her away, unaware that her blue-eyed girl with honey-straw pigtails looks back over her shoulder and grins at me.
M. J. Iuppa lives on Red Rooster Farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Most recent poems, lyric essays and fictions have appeared in the following journals: Poppy Road Review, Black Poppy Review, Writers Rising Up’s 2015 Digging to the Roots Poetry Anthology Calendar, Ealain, Poetry Pacific, Snow Jewel, 100 Word Story, Avocet, Eunoia Review, Festival Writer, Silver Birch Press’s Where I Live anthology, Turtle Island Quarterly, Wild Quarterly, Boyne Berries (Ireland), The Lake (UK), Punchnel’s; forthcoming in Camroc Press Review, Tar River Poetry, Corvus Review, Clementine Poetry Journal, Postcard Poems and Prose, among others. She is the Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program at St. John Fisher College. You can follow her musings on art, writing and sustainability at http://mjiuppa.blogspot.com.