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.

Smiley Face

Not sure of the ending. LMK what you think.

Smiley Face

We watched TV in the bunker
of the basement with only the blue-
green glow of the boob tube.

We fancied the well windows
were two eyes staring at us
from the cinderblock. 

The basement was mostly finished,
but father had a hip idea
and handed us each a spraycan of paint. 

Yellow. Blue. Red. Mother shook
her head, sorting dirty clothes
into small piles in the laundry room.

She agreed there was a time and place
for happening, but perhaps it did not include
pre-teens and indelible aerosol.

My sisters and I were each assigned
a stretch of wall. Every squiggle, every curlique
had meaning in our lexicon of graffiti.

Father and little brother were in charge
of black, lines of definition. The long walk
to school. The boy I liked. My sister's

struggles in speech therapy. She couldn't
say her s's. Mostly because she was missing
front teeth. Colors had rules.

Like combining primary with complementary
colors gave you brown. Brown was not
a color that could be undone.

Father in a brown study stepped aside
for mother disheveled by whites and darks.
She held an extra spraycan of black in one hand.

Mother drew a smiley face on the wall
with the word "shit" underneath. The rueful look
of parents with dripping paint connected them.

"Not my best idea," conceded father.
Something they laughed about for the three
nights it took to repaint the basement.

© 2018 House of the Tomato