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April 2016, vol 12 no 1

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Catherine J.S. Lee

Wild Strawberries

Nothing in childhood meant late June like wild strawberries. Strawberries that grew in the field beside the railroad station. Strawberries we’d pick in the morning sunshine and salt breeze as freight trains rattled on and off the island.

The wild strawberries hidden in the tall grass were so small, they’d fall through the corners of slatted berry boxes. Carrying bowls or saucepans from our mothers’ pantries, we’d pick and pick and pick. Our containers remained nearly empty as our mouths and fingers stained red with berry juice.

It’s all gone now, the trains, the grassy field, the wild strawberries. Now, we can go to the supermarket and buy strawberries all year round, but never anything like that sweet, sun-warmed taste of the long June days of childhood.

a train’s whistle
bends into silence
winter dusk