Sweet Nuisance


Like a thick, green shawl thrown about the back and down the split-rail arms of a derelict fence it settles, flourishes, and goes to fruit, too much, some say, of a good thing growing, as it does, everywhere where it's left alone—out past the barn, in a neighbor's yard first and then into yours, at the untilled end of a planted field, at the edge of almost any road and it's worse than barbed wire growing not where you'd want or even expect it to be but wherever it happens to be with an unattractive flower and an unenchanting odor and the whole thing seems to attract all the bees in the world; a nuisance, a complete and utter nuisance but that the bud becomes a berry and that berry—oh, that dark-purple nub—becomes something so exquisite; the summit of Everest, Helen, the Grail, a prize to be plucked from thorns in a game, a late-summer game of patience and desire, of discipline and appetite, of avoidance and carefully fingered abandon.

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