I need you to be a part of this, she says,
       meaning…what? So much transpires that it’s easier to spectate,
       to forego the march and conviction we’re being asked to display.
       In the kitchen, I pit cherries gone soft, strange blemishes
       marring deep red skins. Stems withered; perfectly sweet.


       I need you to be a part of this, she says.
       Meaning: this strange mythology, its denouement.
       Meaning: everything.
       Meaning: not the press and heat of summer, but the fecundity that follows.
       Meaning: Harvest.


       Because of circumstance, but so too, for pragmatism,
       I save everything.
       There is slightly-sour juice running along my heart-lines.
       I refuse to peel the skins from things. I refuse to rinse them, too.


       I need you to be a part. Of this, she says.
       Questions burble up like brooks in the back of the throat:
       When? How? Where?
       Investigative journalism disguised as deep kinship, or perhaps,
       the other way ’round.


       My son sleeps fitfully in our big queen bed.
       He barely fills the side his father has abandoned.
       In the kitchen, I pit old cherries, lay them out for the dehydrator,
       cheap ceramic knife blade scraping
       the way water does: with a tired lilt,
       over stone after stone after stone.

Michele N. Harmeling is a poet and essayist residing in picturesque Palmer, Alaska. Her work has appeared in such publications as the Alaska Quarterly Review, Juked, Reed Magazine, and the Adirondack Review; she is the recipient of the 2009 Whiskey Island Poetry Prize. Her spare time is generally spent foraging for wild edibles, backpacking, fishing, reading and lavishing attention on her son and dog, Puck.