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.


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Happy Hour

Wrote this poem as a *continuation* poem after "Goulash."

Happy Hour

Hunger cast a shadow
like mother and father
at the breakfast bar during
happy hour, that fluctuating time
when father came home from work
and they'd "catch up."

We gnawed our tongues
having already used up our
TV time, knowing if we asked
for dinner, mother would pour them
another drink, and we'd wait, wait.
At first it was Rhine wine, then
gin and tonics, and for a sweet time
Black Russians, which made them
hungry quicker. We'd eat when the sky
was still sherbet, lemon or raspberry.

There were only so many
Little Brother Specials we could drink,
his moniker for ice water we'd take turns
dispensing from the outside door of the refrigerator,
mother giving us side looks from her cat eyes.
Children should be seen and not heard.
Really why did they need to catch up?
They saw each other every day.
This bubble of time they preserved
for their couplehood.

We came second.
Mother reinforced this every day,
every tepid meal,
every bowl of congealed gravy
when it was a night
for gravy.

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