- In September, the order of business
will always begin with tomatoes
the passionate fruit
of defiant grandmothers
of bachelor lords
in their kitchens of chaos
and of the occasional gardeners like myself
who can marvel the wonders of nature
while complaining of lower back pain.
Even then, the flaming Big Boys
and voluptuous Romas gather themselves
in dishpans, in aprons, yes, even at the doorstep
waiting for the enthusiasm of an early riser
to spill with poetic love
over a Mason or Kerr of the stewed,
the brewed, the blended, the pureed:
this is destiny,
this is immorality,
this is salsa
in the dead of winter!
Tomatoes suspended in jars,
smiling their fetal smiles
outshining the corn relish
and the bony heaps of mutant squash
23 PINTS OF TOMATO MARMALADE
CANNOT HELP BUT PERSIST WITH THE IDEA OF SPRING
admidst the basement darkness
and the stacks of dying Milwaukee Journals.
Yes, even though we walk through valleys
of shadowy Death,
we will always can tomatoes
we will ladle together
the green into red
secrets into sauce
we can because we can
and not because we must.
© 1991 Denise Sweet
In September: Ode to Tomatoes first appeared in WIPoetry, Academy of Arts, Letters & Science, Madison, WI, 1991.
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