June afternoon under
Georgia sun in the world
where I belong before
teeth wiggled out, blonde
turned brown, and I doused
my lips with gloss,

I stand sun-loved,
shimmering with sweat
beading on my neck,
pooling in my armpits
like dewdrops.

I search the shrub, taller
than a grown-up, then snag
a bunch of berries grazing
the dirt, hidden from the birds,
my sister’s untrained eyes.
Like the kid, impish

in the candy store, I check
to see if Mom is watching
then shove the blue sugar
of summer into my mouth.
I chew the round bliss

into pulp. The acidic sweet
melts on my tongue.
As my sister saunters
toward me, she brags
about her bucket brimming.

Sly blue eyes
and purple lips
grinning, I point
to my belly,
puffed with pride
and tell her:

“Here are my pickings.”


Claire Coenen is a writer and social worker based in Nashville, TN. Her writing has previously appeared or is forthcoming in The Banyan Review, Soul-Lit, Poetry Breakfast, Salvation South, Light of Consciousness Magazine, and elsewhere. You can learn more about my work here: www.clairecoenen.com.