Wine Salmonberry

Every year, I forget and
reach for the promising clusters of
red and orange hidden in the bushes along
the forest trail.

I forget that salmonberries are flavorless,
that their sour blandness
makes them ill-suited for
jams and pies.

And I forget about the mean-spirited alliance
between salmonberries and nettles,
their leaves nearly indistinguishable
from each other.

Long after the taste of the berry has
faded from my tongue,
the nettle’s reprimand burns
on my hand.

But the sting will fade, and next spring,
I will reach for salmonberries

© 2012 Petra Martin

The Lighthouse

Men in boats about to capsize,
look to my light with longing.
Envy my firm footing.
Do not know whether they should hold on to
their wrecked ships or
swim to shore.

They assume I’ve always been here,
safe and dry.
They do not know about the storm so violent
that I could not distinguish the sea from the sky.
About the night I released my hold,
grabbed my baby, and swam
toward hope.

© 2011 Petra Martin

God’s housecat

I wish I was
God’s housecat.
I’d curl up at the
foot of His bed,
squinting in the sunlight.

Then I’d saunter into
the kitchen, just as
God was opening a
can of tuna.
He’d set the empty can
on the floor,
laugh when I feigned disinterest,
and then scratch me behind the ears.

When He wasn’t looking,
I’d lick out the can,
head over to my litter box,
and notice that it
needs cleaning.

© 2009 Petra Martin


The illustration, by Kris Wiltse, is from the “Curious” card, which is part of the Mixed Emotions card deck.