Strawberry Moon

Tonight is for hilling the maize and picking the fruit.
To tell if it is ripe, we will press it against our teeth.
The flesh, the pip, the meat. If it is soft and weak, we
will eat. If it holds firm, then the basket until it brims

and the crickets swarm and sing in the bushes. A new
sweetness. I taste it on your cheek on the gentle
dip in your collar bone. There is enough breeze
to need a blanket, but not enough to shiver. I rest

the berries before you. In the dim, I see you wanting
but can't tell if it is for them or me. In the wet
morning, we will hill the corn. In the wet, we are
soft and weak gazing into the shadows between us.

John A. Nieves has poems forthcoming or recently published in journals such as: Beloit Poetry Journal, Southeast Review, Crazyhorse, Hayden's Ferry Review, Southern Humanities Review and Cream City Review. He won the 2011 Indiana Review Poetry Prize and is a 2012 Pushcart nominee. His work has also been featured on Verse Daily twice recently. His first book, Curio, won the Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award Judge's Prize and is due out in early 2014. He is an Assistant Professor of English at Salisbury University. He received his M.A. from University of South Florida and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. His website is (

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761