House of the Tomato

If a woman wants to be a poet, she must dwell in the house of the tomato. -- Erica Jong

Regional website for the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, in partnership with the Reader's Loft.

GREEN BAY / NORTHEAST

Celebrating, sharing and inspiring poetry throughout Wisconsin.

Wielding Scissors - Tori, September 15

Wielding Scissors

 

Grandfather cuts my hair.

I sit on a special stool with a curved, low back.

He fastens a towel around my neck with a silver-toothed clip.

He combs my bangs down smooth, straight.

I can see the Teutonic pores in the dark skin of his face.

He smells like the fir trees in the backyard,

leaning next to the pigeon house.

 

Scissors cut in a straight line, wielded certain and true,

metal cool and mint against the hard ridge of my brow.

In the living room hangs a mirror big as a window.

Grandfather rewraps the knotted veins in his legs.

Grandmother brings him a saucer of coffee

from a kitchen blue and white and delft.

I am the first of three granddaughters.

We wonder at the glass bauble on the stovetop kettle.

 

We sleep in the coldest room of our grandparents’ house.

I am glad to be highest in the top bunk.

Grandmother fusses, worried about the gaps.

She calls me Honey, pats me with her knuckles like underground tubers.

I smile with my black tooth, shaking pixie hair.

Grandmother finds me a windmill cookie, her answer for most things.

My sisters pinch me through the half-railing, painted a high gloss like taffy.

 

I itch and twitch, tossing and turning in the night.

In the thickness, my sprite body slips through the rails.

I land on the carpet fast asleep.

I stir but never wake up.

Grandfather hears the thump and bears me with his wolf arms to a lower bunk.

I curl up with a sister already warm.

 

The clippings sift down all day next to his barber’s chair.

Scissors cut in a straight line, wielded certain and true.

Grandfather tells the story of his Enkelin, his granddaughter,

who falls from the sky but doesn’t wake up

so deeply did she dream.

© 2017 House of the Tomato