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 carried our canoes, scripture, dry shoes.
Our guide wore a sun hat, secret pockets,
eight campers teetering on the precipice 

     of becoming. In the morning with our sleep eyes
we sipped our sticky, girl tongues. Each day
the river, kingfishers, flat paddles ruddering.

     We moved downriver a ripple at a time, putting up
our dome tents at dusk in a circle of sorts,
poking sticks in the hallelujah campfire.

     She understood green, the miracle of
photosynthesis, sunlight converted to plant
energy, contemplating a full five minutes 

     the whorl of a fern. Even the sun buzzed,
waiting to portage. We ate green: pine needle tea, 
plaintain salad. She taught us how to live 

     inside the earth's sheer sleeve. 
I grew strong that summer. On the starriest night
we camped in the river's valley, listening to the

     fire's crackle, whip-poor-wills calling shore to 
shore. We all need saving, she said, 
even the birds.

© 2019 House of the Tomato