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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