Blueberry Picking

Roz Levine

We ran from an outbreak of polio
Abandoned the Bronx for a summer hideaway
In the shadow of the Catskill Mountains
Each day we traipsed craggy trails
Stooped low beneath clear skies
Plucked mounds of dark blues
From bushes bursting with ripe fruit
Filled our baskets to overflow

It should have been all this:
Sunshine on eight-year-old skin
Fresh air on innocent girl soil
Thoughts of jam on toast for breakfast
Happy days of laughs with the family

When anxiety overwhelms the mind
Blueberry picking equates to worries
Of prickly thorns and bee stings
Sunburns and infected blisters
Rattlesnake bites and botulism in jelly jars
Everything, a gravediggers’ paradise

About the poet:

“Writing has been one of the major tools to help me navigate a life filled with high anxiety, including several cancers and a multitude of surgeries. When I retired from my work as a school counselor several years ago, I decided that it was time to dedicate myself to my writing life and to honor the creative spirit within me. I am a member of the Los Angeles Poets and Writers Collective, founded by Jack Grapes. My works have been published in The Sun, On the Bus, Cultural Weekly, Poetry Super Highway, Silver Birch Press, Forever in Love and Deliver Me.”

About the poem:

“This poem was inspired by the atrocities that are occurring around the world and that create so much anxiety within me. I decided to get out of my head by tracing one of my earliest childhood memories related to anxiety–to document poetically how the simplest act, like picking blueberries in a beautiful mountain setting, was weighted down by my catastrophic thinking. I don’t think I’ll ever cease to be an anxious individual, but if I can make art from anxiety, I can live with that.”

Poetry editors:

Johanna Shapiro and Judy Schaefer

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About the Poem


3 thoughts on “Blueberry Picking”


    Anyone who publishes in The Sun gets my admiration immediately! If readers do not know The Sun, find it and subscribe to a publication that survives without advertising and sponsorship, and delivers wonderful quality consistently.

    1. Thanks so much, June. I appreciate your positive comments and I do plan to keep on writing; it helps to save my sanity!

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