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.

What Little Girls are Made of

Here’s an example of a poem that came out of a line from another poem I wrote. I used a line from “Dainty Lady Hankies” . Robin had us take one of our own lines and do a free write. I used the line “Aunt Minnie slipped them discreetly into her full bosom”—even thou this line does not appear in the new poem, it prompted me to write the first line about my great aunts and their “foundations”. i let the poem lead…adn the ending surprised me. I’m not sure about the title…i was at a loos for a better one.

What Little Girls are Made of

My great aunts were women of foundations,
brassieres with rows of sturdy hooks,
corsets that pulled up tight
to hold them together.

Their dresses had tailored lapels
with wide shoulder pads and a chest pocket
with a crisp hankie neatly folded
into a triangle, peeking out.

They wore hats with big brims tilted to one side,
held white gloves in their hands, 
and handbags with solid straps dangling from their arms.

They were no nonsense with opinions about little girls.
They gave me Elaine Powers Book of Etiquette for my
twelfth birthday and the Fanny Farmer Junior Cookbook
instructing me about shoulds, pleases and thank yous,
and how to make meals.

When visiting I had better have a hankie in my purse
and my white gloves just in case, even though
I’d rather have my fingers in the mud, slapping a dinner of mud pies in a row, down the driveway just to see their faces.

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