In the next foster-home we weren’t allowed candy, so I ended up foraging the neighborhood gardens and trees for fruit, like a goddamn bear.  I knew where all the mulberry trees were. I picked strawberry patches clean for a three block radius and when I discovered the Catholics had a cherry tree, I cleaned those motherfuckers out in a couple of hours. I was the Charles Bronson of fruit.

I remember one summer day standing barefoot in a mulberry tree, juice dripping off my chin like a lunatic. I reached for another berry when I spotted a little bird watching me. We stared at each other for quite some time until I heard the wind blowing through the tree top. I looked up through the spiraling green into the blue sky and was overwhelmed by the urge to sing, but somewhere between the decision to sing and the physiological act some part of me decided to yell “Fuck You, St Louis!” So I did. I heard a giggle and I looked down to see the craziest looking girl I’d ever seen, laughing at me. We were married for 53 years. Never did set foot in St. Louis.


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