Poem: The Tomato

Evidence of an unwanted visitor: hunks of green flesh missing; pockmarks and scrapes, like the residuals from a

Bad case of acne;

Ants crawling inside the formerly impenetrable husk.

The tomato has been breached,

Probably by a rat

Or maybe a bird, an enterprising finch, who pecked and poked and discovered that the emerald fruit that seemed so attractive — so literally attractive to his avian vision — was acidic and unpleasant, an indigestible stomach bomb that would require daily visits to a clay lick, if such a thing were available three-thousand miles away from the Amazon basin.

The man who grew the tomato, who planted the hearty vine among the jasmine and petunias,

Grimaces and exclaims something unlovely.

An oath against rodents.

And he wonders if

Eating what is not yours is a crime worthy of death.

Were it so, his countrymen, heavy with extra larding, mobile stockpiles of stored calories, would

Face the tribunal, heads bowed in shame, unable to adequately explain

Their gluttony.

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