Stained Purple

By Nancy Lou Canyon

Previously printed in Spindrift, Shoreline Community College Journal.

Blackberries ripen,
plump and sweet.
Birds flock to the beach,
devour–chirping, chirping, chirping.
In the sunny kitchen, my sister
bakes a crisp, fingers stained purple
from picking berries at low tide.
She whips up cobbler,
faster than the fall flock lands and
inhales a bank of plump fruit.
We eat like foolish children,
not caring about the crumbs
that fall to the table
nor our purple-stained lips.
She giggles and smiles at me,
our eyes meeting and falling away shy.
It was mostly our mother dying,
twisting from strokes like fall vines,
that ripped us apart, each aching
to be the one loved the most.
We finish the treat,
she gathers to leave and leans
close, kisses my cheek
three times with purple-stained lips.

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