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The Poet's Corner

How to be a Tomato


Ignore the hardness

of the window’s ledge. Gaze

through pained glass

at farmers roaming rows

of raked dirt and corn crops. Consider

the comfort in those stalks

how leaves both nestle

and protect. Remember

clinging to a stem, the calming scents

of earth and border rock, the dampness

of the clay. Take comfort

where you can. Watch for earthworms

working root-tangled soil,

notice other omens. The low

setting sun; the crows flying east,

the shadows on fields resting

under an otherwise Utah-blue sky,

the quick evening breeze pulling at you.

Don’t regret what’s gone. Anticipate

the prick of the paring knife. Trust

that it will come and when it does,

hope the blade will catch. Hope

that it will tear away the bruised

and tender marks that come

from sitting in the sun too long

from being picked

at by beetles, from having

thin skin, from falling

among rocks. Imagine

that the pulp

around the deepest scars

is sweetest.

Originally published in the Atlanta Review. Forthcoming in Make Space (Finishing Line Press, 2023)

Poet’s Corner is curated by Bucks County Poet Laureate Tom Mallouk and supported by a grant to the Bucks County Herald Foundation made possible by Marv and Dee Ann Woodall.