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City Sisters' Lesson

Dust clouds hover behind the passing John Deere

I walk with my sisters to the elderberries

Go in a little farther


Janey disappears into the ditch

The dust has yet to lay

Its thick hands


We pick

We pluck

 We fill the potato pot

Our fingers purple with berry-blood


Grandma presses inky extract

Through the sieve

Janey pulls air through her chest


Juice simmers black

Steam coats the windows in bridal lace

The Iowa sun sets


Mama dips Ball jars using hot dog tongs

I ladle tarry syrup

Diane caps each pint with a golden halo


Janey sleeps with a whistle

Life buzzing through a wax paper comb

Specks of chartreuse flutter from her hair


Never pick elderberries where the giant ragweed grows.

©2013 Wendy A. Skinner


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