Ralph Earle: What Becomes of the Strawberries

                           Dinosaur Blues, by Mary Hatch, 1987, oil on canvas, 40” x 48”

 

 

What Becomes of the Strawberries

My mother said she would be gone a moment and bring me strawberries. A moment meant away and back. Strawberries swept over me like sun chasing a cloud. Strawberries coming to the car. For me.

Grey back seat. Door handle. Blue-white sky. The stalk of the lock meant in, out, alone. Clouds crossed the strawberries. Away and back never happened. Grey became the sky. I lay down. My face prickled. Above, a green tree rippled.

Lock popped, door opened, car started. We were driving home. Where are my strawberries?

Oh, there weren’t any. The voice she used when dinner burned.

_______________
Ralph Earle

Review by Carla Schwartz
“What Becomes of the Strawberries” is wonderfully mysterious and at the same time conveys a sense of longing and desire for love. Earle is succinct in conveying all this in a short narrative: a boy in a car waiting for his mother, who doesn’t always own up to what she’s up to, her mistakes and imperfections, and who doesn’t keep her promises.

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