SCOTT T. HUTCHISON
MACHETE, BLACKBERRY BRAMBLE
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.