Hiking along a railroad-track-turned-bike-trail,
we found an explosion of berries along a field
just beginning to find its own way back to life.
They were red, but neither of us cared enough
to find a metaphor, so just red they remained.
You told me how some red berries in this area
are poisonous to certain small mammals, yet
are a delicacy to many birds. Try one, you said,
almost smiling. Our dog ran over to sniff them,
as if his hunger could ever be sated by crimson
little orbs hanging from thin stems. You called
him back, afraid he may eat that which later
will tear at his insides, momentary pleasure
replaced by intestinal regret. But he gulped
a mouthful before returning to us on the trail,
and all that night you watched him, waiting
to see if he would be undone by his hunger,
or if he was testing out the toxicity for us,
trying out something new before we do it,
like just last week when he began sleeping
on the living room couch instead of our bed.

Paul Scot August

Published in Bending Light Into Verse II by Jennifer Tomaloff


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