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.

GREEN BAY / NORTHEAST

Celebrating, sharing and inspiring poetry throughout Wisconsin.

Great Bitter

Another Scottish Husband poem… some helpful hints… Maureen… pronounced Mo-Reen with a heavy first syllable… means “great, bitter.” Scottish words for bramble or blackberry include “wood rasp,” “siven,” and “brammie.”

Great Bitter

She rasped a voice in his ear,
taking the broad breadth of his grizzling
into her arms. Mo-reen. Mo-reen.
He was home in her arms. He was childhood,
the boy he was, smile like an arrow. His laugh
the excavation of shuffling at Four Corners,
next to the garden wall of the castle
where they’d mill after dark.
She raised a glass . Slangevar.
She still smoked the Woodbines,
lighting up on the public side
where it was allowed. My Scottish husband
took her fag between his lips, huffing
smoke rings to the tin ceiling.
Her slant eyes that stayed and stayed, siven in their steepening.
Allo, 'ere's my man. Poor Davy, with his cowlick and shrugging,
missing two fingers on one hand from forestry's chainsaw.
I waded in their accents.
Davy was a man who came back, some skirmish or another.
My Scottish husband was Englander, which he denied, swearing a blue streak.
She bought him a nip. Remember. Remember.
A profusion of malt in the air, tufted grass and peat.
Wet dirt. She was his first. Fence- hanging.
The laughter kept splintering.
Mo-reen embraced me, too. We ken, she slyly.
A sleekit woman, restless, she potted jams at purveyors of Scottish specialities.
Dark hair, fair skin, scraped clean by the sea change.
She saw her mother into the afterlife.
Her children named Mo-reen and Davy. Isn't that the point?
The bell clanged last call.
You must come for afters, her brammie eyes insisted.
Aye, said Davy, riffing with his three fingers.
She promised remembering and sausage rolls,
kitchen table and Scotch.
She vowed it'd be fine.

© 2019 House of the Tomato