Untitled Tomato Poem


First, tomatoes are green.

They hide in leaves and stems

and swell themselves all summer

with sun—

first a pale orange

then flushing full red

like sunburned cheeks.

Pick one now.

Touch palm to ripe flesh

warm from the sun.

Feel it almost jump

off the vine

into your hand.

Eat it like an apple—

juice and seeds

running down your chin—

or take it inside;

slice it carefully;

layer it tenderly

on white bread

spread with mayonnaise.

Anoint it with salt

and maybe a fleck of pepper.


Later, tomatoes are red

bulbous piles in the kitchen

where your mother is

peeling and seeding them—

preparing them for

bright sterile jars with brass rings.

She sets them in boiling water.

After long minutes of impossible heat,

they are a red glass regiment

on the counter.

All day they suck in their lids

with a pop.


Then, this tomato is black

ink—empty circles

on a white page—

black like a seed.

Not like tomato seeds

in slimy, creamy shades—

yellow-green to barely-orange—

this black seed

with or without serif

is dry, flat, odorless, tasteless.

Where can it go?

Will it grow?

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1 Poem

Genevieve Cobb

Untitled Tomato Poem