By Karen Shepherd

A hidden shelter on a sunny day
beneath the brambles of the blackberry:
I tucked myself in close and begged to stay,
his fruit so sweet provided amity.
Each drupelet purple, swelling, very ripe.
Greedily, I indulged till morning came.
His juices from my mouth I did not wipe,
such open hunger for him knew no shame.
As bitterness began to lurk on lips,
I craved for more and he humored my feast.
His prickles left red scratches on my hips.
That summer’s innocence had now been fleeced.
Low hanging darkness too easy to pick:
he was a habit difficult to kick.

Karen Shepherd is a public school special education administrator who enjoys reading, writing, and reflecting on the small moments in daily life. She lives with her husband and two teenagers in the Pacific Northwest, where she enjoys paddling in her kayak, frolicking in forests, and walking in the rain.