farmer blood, peasant blood,
seeps from veins into deepening soil,
willing things to grow in desolate places.
we’ve always picked things,
soft things and hardened things —
bajra, jowar, rice, sugar cane, and cotton
that made our hands bleed for days, for years.
transplanted to far off soil,
from rich earth and fertile loam,
we pick foreign things,
luscious things and beautiful things —
strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and sometimes
late-summer blackberries just for fun.
transplanted to not so far off soil,
we pick newer things,
hot desert sun things and prickly things —
peaches, apricots and grapes of wine we will never drink,
grapes that sparkle hard
before they’re crushed and dissolve
into liquid or vapor.