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.

Drive-Thru

Annette, this was my "moment" poem in the PAD challenge. Let me know what you think. (We circle and circle around the big moments in our lives, don't we?)

Drive-Thru

In the drive-thru at Starbucks
I paw the barista's shovel
of a palm, looking for more change.

It's an instant that loops and loops.
I am completely outside myself
with grief, unfiltered sky overcast 

as my blindspot, tunnel of air 
between our Jeep and the siding, 
smell of peat in the coffee.

Mom, says my son, gently, unlike 
himself, saving rebellion for home. 
His sister leans her cheek 

against my arm, unsure what else
to do, trying to spark a small sun 
of warmth. I see my strickenness 

in the white's of their eyes. The barista 
gives me the look of a zoo animal. Oh, 
I say, I got my coin, withdrawing a hand, 

paroxysm of giggles overtaking me, 
a behavior that started in the sanctity
of church. Whenever I was pushed 

to the edges of a pew, faith would strike 
me funny. My kids can only see
my shoulders shaking, giggle roiling

unerupted. In their relief they forget
the embarassment of my laughter,
masks of worry falling to their laps.

My kids laugh along with the loud stranger
as we indicate back to the road.
Tears course a map down my face.

They've never seen me bereft before.
I've never attended the funeral of a sister 
before or heard the ground dirt fall on her casket. 

© 2017 House of the Tomato