While walking my dog to the “good pooping grass,” as my partner and I call it, adjacent to the Plymouth Cultural Center parking lot, I passed an old man smoking a cigarette and picking wild berries. He dropped each berry in a five-gallon bucket nestled in the basket of a shopping cart he kept hidden behind a row of orange construction barrels. I wanted to get close enough to see exactly what he was picking, but I left him to his harvest undisturbed, pretended I didn’t see him, and kept on walking my dog. The very next morning, when I walked my dog back to the good pooping grass, the old man wasn’t there, and neither was his shopping cart or bucket, but some berries remained on the bush. Small, dense, purple wild berries. Edible or noxious? I asked myself as I rolled one around inside my mouth, tasting the smooth, cool, slightly bitter skin, reflecting on the old man’s decision to leave the berry ripening on the branch, and then I spit it out.
Josh Olsen is a librarian and the co-founder of Gimmick Press.
image: MM Kaufman