You watched your grandmother cut back the blackberry canes every spring, saw how she bore the thorns and the loss. This is love, she said, when her skin split and her blood dripped into the soil. After you understood the source of the bramble’s rampant growth, you swore off legacy and family obligation and left, never to return, never to sacrifice the fruit of your own marrow. Now though, with summer on the wane, your veins swell to bursting and you think of your grandmother, the paperbark of her skin and the glint of her teeth fierce and sharp under the kindred moon and you swear to god you’d kill for a drop of her hedgerow wine, another taste of that blackberry night. So you return to the canes, take up the shears and the paring knife. You love. And you bleed.
Myna Chang’s chapbook, The Potential of Radio and Rain, will be published by CutBank Books in 2023. Her writing has been selected for Flash Fiction America (W.W. Norton), Best Small Fictions, and CRAFT, among others. She has won the Lascaux Prize in Creative Nonfiction and the New Millennium Writings Award in Flash Fiction. She hosts the Electric Sheep speculative fiction reading series. Find her at MynaChang.com or on Twitter at @MynaChang.
Lead image: “Blackberry” (via Flickr user JOHN K THORNE)