Monday, April 17, 2017

City Child #10: Blueberries for Sal

Blueberries for Sal is a 1948 book by Robert McCloskey

Sal on Blueberry Hill puts more blueberries in her mouth
than in her pail: ku-plink, ku-plank, ku-plunk

during school holidays each summer my father would take
my half brother and me upstate to his land near the Canadian border

he was building a geodesic dome we never asked why
or what the ultimate use was for it

my father rarely gave simple answers anyway
it was probably related to Buckminster Fuller’s dome at Queens Zoo

building the dome was a Sisyphean task 
every winter the materials would be stolen so every summer he’d start again

I saw the dome project as a deliberate form of recreation
rather than a construction project: a camping trip focused on blueberries

there were fields of them growing wild and copious in the Flat Rock area
ripening over time in my imagination, sweetened by distance and nostalgia

each day from the undulating blue hills, we ate as much as we picked our lips
tongue, fingers stained blue our heads buzzing from the heat

my then stepmother made blueberry jam and blueberry pancakes
on the little camping stove we’d brought along

we fished for trout and catfish with worms and sticks
cooking the sweet bitter flesh over a campfire

always on the lookout for the elusive Golden Eagle
a huge raptor that circled the field

there were said to be bears though no one ever saw one
maybe they were kept away by our slobbery dogs

at some point we stopped going
my father’s third marriage was faltering 

my stepmother wasn’t well 
Dad got tired of the endless rebuilding 

my dad still owns the land, he says he’s leaving it to me
and my half-brothers but I don’t think it truly exists

1 comment:

  1. A really delightfull story and great meter. Perfect lengh.