Fred Dale


The color is the first taste, a dusty blue
rolled between the fingers to loosen
the juice. They surprised us
as the shock of our isolation began its
comfort, and we ate them in a continuous
cold drizzle that broke through the skin,
one at a time, clustered neptunes close
to the craggy ground, the skin off
the trail. There's a bitterness there
that takes its time correcting what we
know about blueberries. We were
into the curved hood of a lake valley—
beyond the limits of families and their
poaching buckets, uncertain of the berries'
first names, that they were what they
appeared to be. When I chewed them,
ruining their circularity, I had to think
of blueberries to find the taste I expected
to find, the rain blowing back on us
among the mountain valley's indifference,
the moose speaking to the river's ear
our arrival. Here the rocks shave off
the mountains and hitch down
to the growing beds, giving the young
berries a roof to crouch under as they
figure out what they will be, a ledge
to lean on when the bells of their
meaning mature, a bitter note that ends
in the mind as blueberry.

Fred Dale is a husband to his wife, Valerie, and a father to his occasional jerk of a dog, Earl. He is a Senior Instructor in the English Department at the University of North Florida, and an avid cyclist, but mostly, he just grades papers. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Crack the Spine, Chiron Review, Wild Violet Magazine, The Critical Pass Review, glassworks and others.

Current | Archives    Submit | Masthead    Links | Donate   Contact | Sundress