Elaine Olund

Technicolor Berry


Blushing and round, destined

never to reproduce, never to run wild

lithe and vine-y like the feral strawberries webbing

my backyard, berries so tiny

they’re all seed.

I pop one in my mouth

lip-pucker tart crunch of seeds pincushioned

to a slip of bitter flesh—

so unlike you, California’s finest

big as a plum, grown for my pleasure,

sown in fields where nothing at all runs wild

where machines spray rain onto soil

fumigated with poison, spawning tender jumbos

plucked by human hands

only because you are too tender

to be plucked mechanically.

I slice you, sacrificial berry-lamb

stainless blade halves your weeping red heart

bred to slake my desire to sink deep

into toothsome depths, so red, so red—

you taste like Technicolor cricket-singing summers

like sparkler smoke clouding stars.

You taste like I did at five, shining in my smocked dress

melting like a popsicle in the sun

when the world seemed a safe place to spin and run.



Elaine Olund writes, designs and creates art in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her stories and poems have appeared in Peregrine, Flyway, Bartleby Snopes, Black Demin Lit, Turk’s Head Review, among others. Find her art and reflections at