What We Grew

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.

Roses

were too perfect, something sweet

and red like roses,

but nourishing and dense

Tomatoes

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.

Impossible,

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

anyway.

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.

 

Our tomatoes

are heavy with juice that bleeds

when we slice the skins

and rivers of nectar that fan along the wooden cutting

board

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

source.

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.

Our table

is too big for two;

we sit on opposite ends and study

how the other cuts, examines, consumes

what we’ve grown with earth

and water.

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