Summer 2009

Table of Contents - Vol. V, No. 2


Poetry    Essays    Translations    Fiction   

Sara Bernert



Standing in the kitchen, my mother
prepares to make strawberry jam with
the berries we picked that morning,
our flats filled to the brim.
I carry them inside carefully,
set them on the counter, and wait.
She must notice I've been waiting
to tell her. I begin: "Mother,"
but she is cleaning berries, carefully
dropping a handful in the sink and washing with
cold water. My head lowers, eyes brimming,
alone in quiet mourning.
I want to tell her about that morning
when, still in shock from sheets, his weight,
I watched sunlight fall on the brim
of a cup filled with coffee, set carefully
on a nightstand. What to tell to a mother
who had raised her children with
rosaries, pressing our communion clothes carefully
every Sunday morning?

We pull berries from the water with
a strainer, placing them on a towel, waiting
for the droplets to dry. My mother
pours sugar and pectin over the brim
of a large pan that's soon brimming
with boiling fruit. We watch it carefully.
She learned the recipe from her mother.

They, too, would spend a summer morning
picking berries in a field, the weight
of the flats measured with
an old scale. Now I watch the pan with
her and wonder if she was ever brimming
to tell someone she hadn't waited
or if she had, instead, carefully
bent down and picked strawberries all morning
in silence, for the sake of her Mother.

Mother asks me if I'm finished with
the jars. I only nod, pressing a lid on every brim.
Some things are worth preserving. I wait.


© Sara Bernert



Poetry    Essays    Translations    Fiction   

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