Literary Hook: Hot, dry summer great for tomatoes!

September 5, 2012

Christine Swanberg

By Christine Swanberg
Author and Poet

Although it has been a terribly hot, dry summer that was hard on humans and other creatures, it has been great for tomatoes!

With all the wonderful farmers’ markets around here, it has been a treat to see all the heirloom tomatoes ripened and ready for slicing.

This poem starts out with a lofty tone, detours for the heirloom tomatoes and detours yet again by satirizing the famous plum poem by William Carlos Williams. Then, it ends with levity. Savor with salt, please.

Instead of Destiny

Destiny is the seed deep within the secret

revealed when colors and textures can be discerned

through the speckled lens of time’s wide aperture.


Of seeds, shapes, and textures:

how about those heirloom tomatoes?

Cheyenne blacks, golden pineapple,

fuzzy peach, green-striped —

the bulbous and beautiful aborigines

of the farmers’ market.

Destiny arrives in slices,

succulent, juicy glimpses

of patterned purpose,

metered messages from whatever

Mercury you tango with.

This is just to say

I have sliced the heirloom tomatoes

that you bought at the farmers’ market today.

No need to forgive me.

There’s plenty left for you.

So sweet with just a little salt.

Destiny is like a secret heirloom

that hides in plain sight

in the dark attic you climb to one winter day.

You say, Oh my. What’s this?

I have the prefect place for you.

Oh my. I set out to write a poem

all about destiny. The urgent

heirloom tomatoes slivered in instead.

This poem was published in The Alleluia Tree by Puddin’head Press as well as Minotaur, a literary magazine based in Port Townsend, Wash.

Christine Swanberg is a local author and poet.

From the Sept. 5-11, 2012, issue

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