by Benjamin Mast
They promised a green barrier
in exchange for ripping out the forest,
which we learned later only meant
two dead trees in front of their lot, where
I once picked raspberries with Grandma.
She had squashed the fruits bloody,
her thin skin tearing at each thorn,
the joys and pains forgotten as she
worried about a baby that wasn’t there.
She lived in our house until she fell
and her body’s breaks matched her mind’s.
She didn’t know me then, or ever, really,
but I remember her cardboard smell
and her impossibly tight grip, like a
tourniquet at my wrist, her knuckles
fossilized with raspberry scars
and a blue-veined map of lost lands.
Her eyes spoke of something stolen.