Strawberries
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Why do people think
strawberries
taste sweet?

Corrupted memories of
strawberries
are found in
perfumes, lip gloss, medicine
sweet and pink
and utterly
tasteless.

How have they not gotten it right?
Strawberries
are not clinical
white plasters
soothing yellows
lint-tinted pinks
designed to keep patients calm
and doctors sober
and unwatered plants from looking too yellow
under the LEDs
so why imagine that
strawberries
can be put to the same
standard
as mint
cinnamon
and vanilla?

Are strawberries
pepto bismol
gulped to quell
the nausea
of living
(caused oh so partially
by the taste of the cure)?

Are strawberries
hair
flowing copper
in winter's breath,
stinking
of all that winter did to us
and all we have left behind?
are strawberries the wind
as she folds her scarf
into your clutching hands
bundles away her warmth
and leaves you
with naught but dark fabric
and cooling skin
and the lingering smell of
strawberries
and memories of her
whispering
goodbye?

Are strawberries
rain
soaking deep
throwing up dust
stinking of fertilizer
and pesticides
pale dust
licked like M&M candy shells
from the skins of
strawberries
by children
too young to know
to wash their fruits
before they are eaten?

No.

Strawberries are
summer
melting warm
on skin,
white flakes peeling
like banana leather
from a sunburned back,
pale hands spreading
soothing balm
smelling of
strawberries
and coconut oil
and bananas
(but mostly coconut oil)
into seared skin,
filling crags
and valleys
and pitted recesses
like the seed-pits of
strawberries
where the white inside
heart-shaped
like milk
glistens pure under the sun
delicious,
and when the heart is done, remembering
the days when the sun
cast tall shadows on the beach
and sand fleas bit
little
red
hickeys
all down our necks
as we sucked on wild
strawberries
plucking them stem-and-all
from leaves rallying in the sand
verdant green on ashen sand
biting down, pearly whites staining red
tasting exquisite flesh
creamy pale hearts
skin so pebbly, tender
lifeblood so succulent
coating our young red tongues,
tearing irrevocably into us
so we tasted blood and
strawberries
again years later when
wrinkles
and spots
finally appeared
as a parting gift
from the sun
long after she is gone.

when the wind is slow
and the fire's hot
the vultu- NOT AGAIN

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