Rikki Santer

Some Fun Facts about Berries

I can’t decide if my Honey is berry—
raz, straw, black, or blue.

Tiny hairs on his head are tender styles, leftovers
from when he blossomed, but safe for my lips.

Like ripe tomatoes in his favorite ketchup or his
guacamole’s creamy avocados, he is fruit unmistakably true.

Yet he could also be berry aggregate with tiny seeds of
personality that sweeten the palate or sideswipe the tongue.

He likes to shoot off runners to multiply crop, like when a surprise
morning bouquet knows how to ground a thunderstorm at night.

Some say berries boost a brain’s housekeeping mechanism, so
maybe his underwear drawer is a very berry aberration.

But for all his druplets and fuzzy calyx, I am grateful
for my strawberry, luscious jam & jelly absolute.


Her wobbly handwriting in signature purple ink
on the face of a tiny envelope under perfumed hankies—
7 extra pearls for choker she had written.
A hidden survivor in the nursing home drawer
where the velvet box was stolen, now nacre of her leaving.

They wanted her belongings out before the funeral,
so in haste we harvested mostly chaff into paper
ream cartons—frayed sweaters, worn slippers, stash
of newspaper comic strips to be mailed to her minions.

But the irritant she regretted to leave behind,
this mother, high priestess of accessory, was memory
of her mourning that loss of pearl necklace by a faceless thief
whose face she probably saw each day after.

Pearl necklace, favorite gift from my father who left too early,
Chanel No. 5 that lingered on each lustrous bead
after so many cha cha nights they spent together
and her master plan—that a strand’s legacy would continue
around the neck of her only daughter.

Seven orphaned pearls sucked from the shell
of maternal desire returned to their browning
envelope to nestle with sachet and folded tongues
of my scarves for a life still detached but tethered.

Rikki Santer has received many honors for her poetry, including five Pushcart and three Ohioana book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her tenth poetry collection, How to Board a Moving Ship, will be published in fall 2021. Please contact her through her website: www.rikkisanter.com