Hand-in-hand we used to pick
leaves off trees and walk barefoot
in the garden, wet dirt hugging our toes.
I would have purple stained hands
and arms for weeks after picking blackberries
to make jam. Now you’ve got wrinkle-soft
skin, the kind that glides over my shoulders
when you hug me. I’ve got calluses on my
hands, cracks on my knuckles brought on
from cold weather, from neglect. I will call
you tomorrow on your birthday and wish
I could be there to cook for you,
to make you feel young because I feel old
like blackberries too ripe for the picking.
Savannah Sipple is a poet, editor, and educator from Beattyville, Ky., whose work has been featured in Now & Then, The Louisville Review, New Southerner, Appalachian Heritage, and Deep South Magazine. She is a frequent contributor to Still: The Journal.