The Largest Tomato
The largest tomato was stolen
From the community garden
No one cared, really…
“We give our food away to the hungry,” she proudly said.
She, the gardener,
who stood in the courtyard
of garden plots surrounded by
rusty chain link fence and broken asphalt. The stench of pollution lingered
among dejected apartments.
A light breeze blew.
in the world
is both frightening and peaceful at once.
She mentioned it a few times Like the chorus of a blues song,
“someone stole the one thing
I asked everyone not to touch.”
She had left it on the vine
until the very last moment of ripeness, “Too long,” she shook her head.
The caretaker of spontaneous combustion. Of earth, sun, rain and God. In my mind
I imagined her
standing over the hoe, waging her gentle, ferocious war
with the weeds.
In one second,
a season’s work
from the vine
at the precise moment
she was not keeping watch (which was almost never.)
I imagined the large, red tomato
in her hand,
an old, skilled hand
of a dark color called “ancient”
by the spirits,
by those with
a severely impoverished imagination.
She stood with her ancient hands on her hips To push away pride.
But it had already
taken root in
She had tucked the whole incident away in a box marked “hurt”
in her heart,
a routine gesture.
There was asparagus to talk about sprouting up from the ground like tiny trees.
“Break off a piece,” she said
I did, it tasted like sweet leaves and rain “this is how we get our monies,” she said.
We found out later on that often
she must choose between food and medicine Depending on the month.
we all say,
but some days the irony is too great. Perfect things
don’t last long
in this distorted paradise
we call the world.
Things of wonder
against too much pain