At nightfall, we followed the path past

the crabapple where blackberries thread

their thorns into thicket walls that prick 


our bare feet and snatch at our wrists 

as we pluck the sweet sun-warm fruit

each August. The last few fireflies blinked


from the bushes that border the edge

of aspens rooted in the soil of someone’s

long-overgrown farmland. As a girl I’d trace


the posts that still fence the pine grove,

wondering whose hand had hewn them. 

Beyond the treeline, the earth slopes


to meet the creekbend where the swell

of last week’s rainstorm sang over stones

in the darkness. Within the hidden folds 


of my mind, new synapses stretched

like vines winding a way to light. Overhead,

the sky curved toward the tall tangle 


of meadowgrass. I said to my brother, 

“It’s been too long since I looked 

at the stars.” He said, “They were worried 


about you.” And the aspen leaves stirred 

and the crickets buzzed and the creek

sang over the stones in the darkness.


By Claire Buck

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