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.

Pencil Hoarder as a Young Child

The Winter Bramble theme of memory prompted another weird habit I had as a child. From a free write, I edited (a lot). Played with words and line lengths. Here’s a shape poem.

Pencil Hoarder as a Young Child

Because my parents saved everything.
Because they discussed The Depression.
Because I worried we might be poor.
Because there might not be enough.
Because pencils could not be found.  
Because my dad was a writer.
Because I loved to write,
Because I loved pencils.
Shiny, long ones, short
stubby ones, sharpened,
or broken-tipped, red or
green, yellow #2s with
soft lead. Because some
had words printed on
the barrel, and teeth
marks from figuring
or thinking too hard.
Because I needed to
know we had enough,
I hoarded pencils
on my bedroom window
sill, an unlikely hiding
place. Pencils positioned
parallel, wood on wood,
grain pressed to grain.
My community grew,
stacked four and five
deep, the ones with
hexagonal sides held
the round ones, so
they didn’t roll away.
Leaded ends pointed
north, eraser ends
faced south. Happy
on the sill.
behind my
shade, I
felt rich
in pen-


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