August 11

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When I first heard,
I wanted to walk,
as usual, motion
the first barrier
and the first barrier
to fall.

Now, in my childhood
neighborhood I wonder
at the changes, how
things seem smaller,
except those I loved, 
and those I loved and lost
towering over all.

It’s wilder here,
and the wooded road 
is welcoming, all shadows
and dry pine until the brush
against a nettle, the stinging
immutable–

I was reaching for
blackberries, minding thorns
when I got into them, wanting
only the sun-warmed burst
of juice, and just look

how joy and grief spring up
together, this one perfect berry
enough to warrant the venture,
the harrowing hallowing, 

oh how I wish you
had felt this, too.

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