It was always the hottest night of the year,
August, the end of the raspberry season
when our father filled the kitchen
first with his sterilized jars,
his Lennon glasses steaming at the stove.
Then the berries, the endless stirring, straining,
adjusting consistency, balancing sugar
until the night loosened its grip to purple.
This was the only time he seemed soft,
checking his infant pots, nudging and coaxing.
Blue had already climbed over the black pines
by the time he slunk off to bed.
He labeled each jar with yellow tape,
Opus 1, 2, 3: music for our silent winters.