For Bev McQuinn
A decade gone, responding to my plea for thinning,
you dug canes with vigor,
creating welcomed roominess in my raspberry forest
and seeding a small grove of your own.
Every summer since then, you have blessed me with jam.
Including this one,
after which, very shortly,
your gut filled with an unwelcomed meal of cells.
We brought you food (without small seeds, please).
But, too suddenly, you were away.
The day I learned of it,
I found, in the refrigerator at work,
this year’s ruby gift of your labor.
This is the task you left to us:
eating the small-seeded sweetness
from the jar of your absence.
August 31, 2016