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.


Trying to take advantage of the time this week… writing these as they come to me… let me know what you think… this one more cards up, I think.


Oi, he yelled, from the top of a roof.
    I was conspicuously American.
London the grittiest city,
    any bustling High Street
around the world with its striped awnings, sizzle of meat.
Indian grocers. Greek hairdressers. Chinese restaurants.
West African textiles. Butchers. Green grocers. Cafes.
    The clip of stilettos, women running errands, 
in a global style ten years into the future. 
    I didn't understand the language of accessories.
The bangles, scarves shot through with gold thread.
    My clothing spoke dairyland, uncomplicated.
I needed a coat, a jumper.
    I was used to the cold but not the daily need
for an umbrella.
    I was an easy convert to tea.
I shivered all the time.
I promised to bring lunch to the job site.
The sky an etching of the horizon, filigreed, ghostly.
    A boutique next to the pie shop displayed a sweater,
headless on a mannequin. 
The colors swirled with peony lushness: pink, fuchsia, cream.
I imagined the fancy knit, over-sized designer buttons.
    I was homesick for Wisconsin.
Parsimonious with a coin purse, the clerk took my pounds.
     I waggled the meat pies, steaming in a paper sack.
He met me at the propped-open front door.
     An electric kettle whistled. We sat on buckets of mortar.
The jumper, he said, placing a napkin on his knees.
      I broke open a pie, fragrant with onion and pepper.
He was reminded of childhood, milk pudding flavored pink.
      My sensibilities were milk maid. I lost countless umbrellas.
Sweet dessert was the closest I would get to fashionable.

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