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.

Sex Education

Another mom poem...

Sex Education

The sanctity of the living room

like an open page of a picture book.

Everything in its place.

Mother calls us to her,

cross-legged on the plush carpet 

in front of the stereo console.

Sister and I are 6 and 7,


still creased by dreams of trees.

The cellophane cover crinkles

as mother turns pages.

The book came from a special section

at the library

and tells us things about our bodies

and the men we might love some day,

tumescence seeking our secret folds.

Making love not sex says mother

with the urgency of a sneeze.

We were made this way.

We will make our own babies this way.

It seems like second nature to us,

more of the poplar leaves rustling 

outside our window.

Mother almost tells us too much.

But we are girls 

and she doesn’t want the world 

eluding us with misinformation.

When I go up a grade 

I have sex education as a class

which can’t teach me anything 

I don’t already know.

© 2019 House of the Tomato