Robins and chickadees, quick
as scissors, are there first,
sighting along the hairy stems,
slanting under leaves, darting
between thorns to the heart,
pendant as jewels.
The birds thing the berries theirs
and us the shameless thieves.
Our human neighbor, too, is adversarial.
Always the primitive growth threatens
to prickle into his acre. Last May
he fired our canes (while we were gone),
not knowing you can't get rid
of raspberries that way. Up
from their small holocaust
they grew back twice as thick.
Today, undaunted by the scowl
from next door, I hunker down, squinting
against the sun, lifting aside the leaves,
plunging my whole arm to a bush's heart,
my skin crossed with beaded wires
of blood, my palms bright with
a sweet serum. Thinking thorns, and blood,
and fruit, I take into my fingers,
bit by bit, the sum of summer.