A Blackberry Rearing - Lori Mosley

A selection from A Blackberry Rearing:

Into the slumber grooves of my Father / she arranged me
where my belly hammocked her head
Tombtight / I twostepped down nursery rhymes to keep up
with the allegro of her breath / and ran alongside iron bicycles pacing the page
fast as the ridden and the damnridden rider
winded by drifts and heritable hands
winding ’round lungs and handlebars

—Her hands

held my berried index and middle and pulsed
with my bikepeddled speak
My stumbling tongue too
young for her mothertastes: a haste

Honeysuckled in the thistles of sheets and shushes
I could not understand her writhing fire
why light fragmented even after
my lids closed: a hasp

What did I know of lullabies and dancing bears
I saw them in a room / once

Suffered me the goodnights: a hauling




One of the first edits of this poem had the speaker reading a cookbook rather than a picture book: ½ teaspoons, ¾ cups, sugar, baking powder, various spices of which I have no actual knowledge. It was a bad poem, perhaps due to my lack of culinary skills. I put the poem down for a year. When I came across it again, I was reminded of a used picture book my oldest sister bought me in elementary school from the library book fair. The main character was a kid nicknamed Sleepyhead (that may or may not be – but probably is – the actual title of the book). At the book’s center is a double page drawing of Sleepyhead and his friends moving with such speed that they appear to run, bike, and swim simultaneously, all through a very rural landscape of frogs, walking bridges and ponds. This landscape became the landscape for the series poem A Blackberry Rearing, and Sleepyhead’s movements became the movement for this particular section. Despite that this section is not the start of the series, though it does fall in the first quadrant, this section is actually where the series began for me.





Lori Mosley has lived most of her life in New Orleans except for short stints in Nashville, north Louisiana, and Cleveland, MS. She currently lives and teaches in Lake Charles, LA where she works for the online literary journal, Ostrich Review.