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.

Winkles and Whelks

Another Scottish Husband poem….does it end too abruptly?

Winkles and & Whelks

My Sunday impression is marine gastropod mollusks,

heaped and slippery in a dish on the bar with sea snails

and pickled things: onions and gherkins. A piccalilli

sun creating shapes and shadows, bouncing beams

off brass and etched glass, and bottles and bottles.

A barman with a comb-over welcome, white-toweling 

a smile as he half-pours a pint, damp smell of hops 

and barrel. My Scottish husband drinks an ale called 

Long Life. I mis-order apple cider, fooled by the idea

of fruit, glass of yellow-gold fizzing with fermentation.

Public houses have a long tradition, standing on almost

every corner for wayfarers, a gathering place for the

neighborhood. A gumless character on a low stool

is already singing. Percy, Percy, the other patrons clap

along. Everyone subscribes to the service of roast

beef, already juicing at home or waiting to be slid in.

These are his people, he says. I need to understand.

Winkles and whelks are a strange apperitif, but they,n

too, have a history here, belong to a time when cart 

vendors waited for closing to sell their wharf wares.

We're all characters here, with a story, our own dialect,

my flat vowels ordering another. This round on me.

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