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.


Celebrating, sharing and inspiring poetry throughout Wisconsin.




               We moved like a convoy

from one home to the next, running lights

and engines down the long, wending driveway.


               My flannelled husband, other men

in boots, rushed our furniture and boxes in

while I held our daughter’s small, slippery hand.


               The drywall exhaled a kind of moisture.

We eyed the prospect through a porthole,

house set on its own rise, sweep


               of larger woods, smelling of cedar.

We walked the scraped earth,

hardened by winter’s first frost.


               Our daughter hugged her old swing:

useless, dragging chain.

“Swing, daddy. Swing.”


               My husband walked off into the wishing trees.

I pocketed my hands.

We were invigorated by the cold.


               He dragged out five logs, all

perfectly sized, and stripped them

of their bark until a hairy pile amassed.


               Naked cedar gleamed, sharp with sap.

Two A-frame sides leaned against the sky.

My husband tightened lag bolts.


               He hoisted the crossbeam: up, down,

up. Adding angle braces, he tested the bar

in his work gloves, knees bent.


Our daughter clapped red mittens.

Trapeze eye screws were the key.

Her father motioned for the swing,


fastening it to the frame, adjusting for height,

uneven ground. She sat herself down,

stirring tenderness with her daddy’s girl


smile lifted to the horizon on her

favorite swing in her new backyard.

“Swing, daddy. Swing.”

© 2019 House of the Tomato