Glove-pulling at the jungle of veins

anchoring the spread of flowering blackberry

you know: this will be a languorous drawn-out fight.

Your father and grandfather likewise waged this fruitless war.

Still, you take that ancient passed-down blade to the tangle, thorned

and snagging, muscles aching as stalks get swing-cut

to sinew, long clothing thin-threaded in protection—

both sides casually bleed. Your country yard, green with summer,

gives way at the edges to a root system mole-digging all day long,

and you wrench, slash, stagger before finally sitting down dripping

with a futile sweat—hanging your head, you commence

to eating blackberries. The snarl and prickles forgive, sweet and patient

against human and metal. Somewhere back in the thicket

there’s an old song trilled by a mockingbird, and that rustling

stowed safely somewhere inside the spikes—it might be

the old trickster himself, Brer Rabbit, who chortles

at your silly story again and again and again.


Scott T. Hutchison’s work has appeared in The Southern Review and The Georgia Review. New work is forthcoming in The Atlanta Review, Kestrel, On the Veranda, and in Louisiana Literature.