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.

Family Quilt

Tori- I was going thru an old notebook from 1998. saw some notes about this event, and wrote a completely new poem. I read an interview of Karla where she wanted to write a poem using the word 'Judder" -- I love that word-- so had to use it in a poem. That's not plagiarism--to use one word, is it?   Line, 3, Should I leave the word "scraps" in, or take it out? does it give the idea of blended family? Also 2nd to last line, I took out "of disapproval" and then put it back in. is it redundant (understood)  with the last line? keep? or not?


Death from diabetes and influenza
became the patchwork of Mimi-grandma’s life
with scraps of two families stitched together.
To make ends meet, she and her mother
sewed for sustenance. Hard work
pressed into the fabric of their days.

 For this second-hand life
her mother took in washing and mending
from two women who later shook their heads
and clicked their tongues
when Mimi said “yes” to marry their brother
fresh out of dental school.

 Moving to the better side of the tracks,
Mimi hemmed up a prosperous existence.
The spinster sisters-in-law
juddering their lavender heads of disapproval
looking down on the help.

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