Black raspberries

Grew in thickets in the back yard, climbing a fence half chainlink half wood, half aging tree with white and yellow trumpet blossoms. The old wooden play set Grandfather Spooner built sat behind it: when we jumped, we had to jump just far enough to not enter the thickets. Behind that was the old plum tree with tiny, sweet golden fruit that only bloomed every other year. The size of robin's eggs, they were deep red all the way through, and melted on your tongue.


Far more robust and valued than fairy-fruit we never got to taste were the trees beyond the plum, separating and shading our yard from the suspicious Lutheran neighbor. Tiny and many-lobed, bumpy and misshapen, we ate mulberries by fistfolds, running around in patches of lily of the valley, streaked with purple and dirt across our knuckles and menacing each other with swords made out of sticks.

Lilies of the valley

Summer is hot but in the shadows of the house, there is cracking cement, deep velvet green plush grass in the shadows of lilacs. There are a thousand tiny white flowers with broad green tulip-leaves. There is the sweet scent of the blossoms on a tree-lined morning, flowers poking magenta and golden and marigold across the curving water-line of the garden.


Climbing the trellis beside the crumbling stairs where I sit with my father. My tiny mouth, stained with mulberry juice, shapes the lls and rrs of Castilian Spanish and trucks roll by at the end of the block, reminders of the world-to-be.

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