The Pickers

farmer blood, peasant blood,
managing-to-hold-on-by-a-thread 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.

photo of a person picking herbs in a field

Never Enough photo by Moni Brar

Moni Brar

About Moni Brar

Moni Brar is an uninvited settler who lives, writes, and learns on unceded, unsurrendered territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region and the land of the Syilx of the Okanagan Nation. She is a Punjabi, Sikh Canadian writer exploring diasporan guilt, identity, cultural oppression, and intergenerational trauma. She believes in the possibility of healing through literature. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in PRISM international, Hart House Review, untethered, Rogue Agent, Existere, Blank Spaces, Mobius, Ricepaper and various anthologies. She was shortlisted for the Grouse Grind Prize for V. Short Forms and FreeFall Magazine's Annual Poetry Contest.

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