I wrote the original version of this poem in the spring of 2010. It still feels true. I added to it this morning, and I thought I would share it with you all. Because I like you guys. And it needed to be added to. Have such a good day.
*Original version published in the George-Anne
What We Grew
We wanted to grow
something beautiful in the backyard that spring.
were too perfect, something sweet
and red like roses,
but nourishing and dense
were what we decided on, because
like us, tomatoes are full of blood.
That was all we knew about ourselves
and growing anything, so we questioned
the older neighbor couple on cultivation.
was their answer because the soil
is nothing but clay
and the climate is all wrong
and it’s not like it’s tomato season
That was all we knew about the older
neighbor couple, and how they had those
fold-out tables leaning against matching
La-z-Boy chairs so they could eat their
meals in front of Survivor.
To never be like them,
is what we decided on.
are heavy with juice that bleeds
when we slice the skins
and rivers of nectar that fan along the wooden cutting
like limbs to a torso
pulling away as the pooling starts
to swirl with seeds.
The young puddles fill, some of them brackish
and silty as they channel and draw from the mouth
but others, how true of heart they are
how sweet and red they bleed
carving their way from each other,
cascade over counter side but
stretching their fingers and with them, bringing
Where they learned how to be true of heart.
We eat our tomatoes like apples
and think how the fruit
is a protecting ovary that bends
the vine toward passing
creatures with promises of
soothed hunger pains.
So savory we can cut them
like pieces of meat alone
on a plate and call
it a side dish.
is too big for two;
we sit on opposite ends and study
how the other cuts, examines, consumes
what we’ve grown with earth