I planted them in early spring,
after the last frost had passed.
pulling weed, removing rot –
Clumps of dried-up grass.
old newspapers and stray debris--
anything that would interfere
with the rearing of my precious crop.
At first, I seeded them in tiny pots
watched eagerly as they slowly sprouted.
peaking demurely through beads of soil,
white slip of a smile at the very top --
a foretaste of a sumptuous meal to come.
When the time was right, I transplanted them
troweled an intrepid hole
gently set my little seedlings
roots riveted in the rich, brown loam.
watered them with my faithful hose
pulling a stray weed here,
guiding them along posts,
securing them in metal cages
set for them to climb and curl.
Devoted father fostering his child
Watchful parent protecting his nascent fold.
then, shortly, gently swollen stems
at last, plush, plump green bulbs
strung like Christmas balls
suspended along graceful winding vines
buoyant in the summer sun
eager to attain their crimson destiny.
the sun still settling in the morning sky,
snatched away from their innocent perch.
or maybe an errant rabbit --
animals once dear to the heart
now swiftly sworn enemies.
How easily we pivot from love to hate!
How inscrutable the anger!
Once wondrous creatures of God
And the clouds gather in the darkening sky
And the fearsome storm erupts
And the rain and thunder pummel the wailing earth
And the forest cowers in unfathomable fear.
Yet not one tomato in this forsaken world
can possibly equal even one precarious life.
Mike Maggio is a poet and fiction writer with seven works to
his name and numerous publications in journals including The Northern Virginia Review, The L.A. Weekly and others. His eighth book, a novella entitled The Appointment,
will be released in May 2017 by Vine Leave Press. He is an adjunct
assistant-professor at Northern Virginia Community College, an associate editor
of The Potomac Review and the Northern Regional Vice-President of the Poetry Society of Virginia. His web site if www.mikemaggio.net