Harvesting Blackberries by the Bay
I saw him just two days before he died.
We waded out into Choctawhatchee Bay,
sifting the sand with butterfly nets.
We abandoned the blue crab we caught
for dock hopping, then ditched the docks
for wild blackberry picking.
I rode home on his handlebars, laughing,
sucking the last drops of sweetness
from the berries. Next year, I told myself,
I’d be in middle school, with him.
I heard about his death
in my reading class, details whispered
behind pages of Charlotte’s Web.
He had abandoned blackberry picking
for a dime bag of weed,
dropped the weed when the bat
met his skull, sifted for an escape plan
in the sand, gasped for air underwater
when the plan failed.
Some kids who grew up in barren winters,
never tasting the sweetness
of blackberries, beat him into to bay,
where he was found floating,
suspended like childhood
above the blue crabs, under the docks.
By Katie Rendon Kahn
Katie Rendon Kahn lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida, where she chases adventure and poetry prompts with her children. Kahn and her 11 year old daughter turned a poem about places they wanted to see into a children’s book series called “World Adventures. But that hasn’t stopped her from continuing to write about the grown up stuff.