Bruised Fruit

to her father, to Shreveport

          uncles who took her in at nine

                    when her mother died.  Goodbye

curls flying, skirt twirling, about

          to collapse in tall grass, limbs

                    loose, late summer heat, goodbye

memory, cigar smoke, bourbon,

          uncles, the places she’s forgotten

                    they touched her,

as she raised me, they stung,

          those berries growing

                    wild in her mouth, how

berry they tasted, strawberry

          rashes leaking down the arms

                    and legs she covered even

in mid-summer sun,

          mine and hers, praying

                    nothing showed.

Rose Auslander
Rose Auslander is addicted to water and poetry, not necessarily in that order. Her book Wild Water Child won the 2016 Bass River Press Poetry Contest, and her chapbooks include Folding Water, Hints, and The Dolphin in the Gowanus. Also look for her poems in Tupelo Quarterly (TQ9) and the Berkeley Poetry Review (# 48). Rose has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has read her poems on NPR. She is Poetry Editor of Folded Word Press, and earned her MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson.