Tomato Talk (and a Poem)

Photo by: benmcleod, Flickr Creative Commons

As a child, I felt cheated by tomatoes. They didn’t taste as good as they looked. And they were a fruit — a fraudulent fruit that tasted like a vegetable. When my mother made tacos, she always tried to sneak in a small piece of tomato beneath my lettuce and cheese; I dug it out and discarded it.

My best friend loved tomatoes so much, she bit into them like they were apples, then sprinkled on some salt and took another bite, and another and then more, until juice dripped off her elbow and another tomato was gone. I envied her and also viewed her as an oddity. Now, I like tomatoes, though not enough to bite into a fat one. My husband grows them (with better results each year), and I sometimes eat the small ones off the vine.

So the poem below is from (and for) the childhood me. The poetic form is called a Zeno, which I’d never heard of until I read this week’s poetry stretch on The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Lament on the Tomato

Vegetable disguised as fruit,
growing red in
summer’s
heat,
ripening and
looking
sweet:
It turns out you
are a
cheat.


© 2013 Stephanie Parsley

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