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.

The Slap

It wasn't all rainbows and shamrocks with my mother... we had our confrontations... believe me. I wish there was a dang tab function.

The Slap

 At the crossroads of coming and going
               Here I am vacuuming again 

I mutter something impolite about mother
       “What did you say?” she asks 

The look I give her
                            Searing scorn of a teenager

The trap of my silence
       Either I speak or I don't 

She slaps me

The bulwark of my face,          arctic plane of my cheek,
        teeth grinding to never ever land 

                            “Apologize,” she says
The green of her eyes sparking 

like copper under flame
       My infidel eyes rimy and unrepentant 

She slaps me again

My head jars
       Glass in the instant precariously

I can only vacuum          steadying 


She will excavate respect if necessary
        The pickax of her glare 

I muscle my tongue with my sharp teeth
              We scrape metal

       The next slap knocks me
to tears

She walks away, satisfied, 

believing she must break me down
to build me back up


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