In the season of strawberries
    the blight hit and she was swallowed.
Like ripe fruit
    there was something sweet and succulent
        about her.
She grew in fertile soil
    where vine roots thrust deep,
        but suddenly she withered
            and was brought home to die.

Knowing she’d be everlasting in His vineyard
    we prayed for miracles
        while she played the coquette with death.
Plucked ripe at thirteen
    she left a stain.

After the service
    we gathered on the church lawn.
Her mother
    pale and haunting
        draped in black
            closed her eyes
                hugging mourners
                    feeling the loss.

The carillon rang.

Colored balloons
    released in bouquets
        soared and scattered
            like wild strawberries
and in the gentle breeze
    tulips swayed
        like church vessels
            stained red.