Invisible Ink

At first, it’s the palm
& fingers that bear
the purple ink of an hour
in the raspberry patch.

But the berry juice fades
as it dries, even on the palest skin,
or else the body somehow soaks it in:
by afternoon it’s nearly gone

& new, more lurid marks
have appeared on the back
of the hand & half-
way up the arm:

parchment where the dry nibs
tried their points.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

9 Comments


  1. Thank you Dave. You just reminded me of my Grandmother. When I was a small boy, she and I would go out for long walks to pick the fat from the land. Spring would be spring greens, summer would be any and all wild berry. I must take my own kinder out; the leasons learned must not end with me.

    Reply

  2. Marja-Leena – Thanks!

    Brett – I do think it soaks in.

    Keith – Yeah, you should. Even if they hate it (I always did). Glad this called up such fond memories for you.

    Reply

  3. My fond memories recalled are of wild blackberries near a Washington bay, where moss grew in thick carpets and hung from trees. There were other alien (to me) plants: holly trees, marsh grass, and growling bushes.

    I like the parchment/nibs metaphor very much.

    Reply

  4. Thanks, Moira. Yeah, I hear the Pacific northwest has the best blackberries on the continent. Our own blackberries won’t be ripe for another couple weeks.

    “Growling bushes”?

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  5. Guess my comment here the other day didn’t take. Loved this poem — very concise, very carefully loaded. If I thought you’d take it as a compliment, I’d even say imagist.

    There’s lots of himalayan blackberries out here, but there’s another sort — I don’t know their real name, we called them “mountain blackberries” — that are tastier.

    I’m not allowed to talk about the growling bushes, though.

    Reply

  6. Really and truly, growling bushes. Well, bush. I gave it a wide berth after that.

    Reply

  7. dale – I’m sorry you had trouble with the comments. Thanks for persisting. I don’t have a problem with imagism, though the spell-checker in the computer I’m using seems not to have heard of it.

    The tastiest berries in the blackberry genus here are called loganberries. We have three or four species in the east, at least.

    Moira – I must find out more about this phenomenon. Supposedly we have quack grass, but I’ve never heard it make a peep.

    Reply

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