All rights © Arne Van Bael. Markthal, Rotterdam

The blackberries were way past ripe. August came reckoning early that year with a heat wave that threatened to melt everything it touched. I learned the word ‘deliquesce’ that summer. The humidity hovered low and heavy, rotted the bulging berries right off the vines, obsidian black staining darker and deeper than puddled blood, (so I’ve seen on TV), everywhere they landed — sidewalks and driveways, cars and windshields, porches and fences — the wild gleaming gems of summer…