You don’t even have to open your mouth

to call sugar to this world.

The berries tumble towards you, curious,

as large dark eyes.


You don’t need to make the ironweed stalks

purple the meadow, the bramble

of storm clouds break open

over the valley, the summer bloom


into monarchs and milkweed. You can’t

force the woman in the clapboard house

who’s lived her whole life here

to call you—come here Sugar— from the road


to sit in a rocking chair

on her porch, swatting away horseflies

while she tells you the long story

of blackberry picking on the hillside,

preserving fruit with her grandmother.


Finally, your words

crystalize in late summer, say grace,

say faith, say courage, say love,

gathered overnight in the ditches, with

ironweed, blackberries, forget-me-not.