By Debora Rorvig
In June I bought a tomato plant to sit out on my patio
for fifteen-dollars and ninety-five.
A tall sturdy sort with a fine thick stock and twelve little green tomatoes
dangling from her branches.
The clerk said “she’s a corker!”
As it turns out, my plus-size girl
doesn’t like my patio.
She screams for water twice-a-day;
pouts if she doesn’t get it.
Why she’s even threaten hari-kari more than once!
And still, just twelve little tomatoes cling to her leafy frame…
I think she’s into family-planning
or something of the sort.
In late July an unexpected visitor popped into my herb garden for a cup of chamomile tea with mint
and some spicy conversation with the chives,
Petite little thing she was; really just a sprout.
Mother used to call her kind ‘volunteers’;
a name I’m not so fond of
as though tomato plants and stalks of corn would step forward and sign
their names on the dotted line to join
some well-ordered regiment of vegetables…
Well maybe a cornstalk would do that; what with their love for standing straight
in even rows…but not this little tomato plant.
(Albeit when I think of it,
perhaps all vegetables should unite and fight
just to save their skins
from monsters like Monsanto;
who…well I’ll save this subject for
another soapbox and time.)
So I called her Aletha instead.
Aletha was a preemie…as tomato plants go;
but I gave her bit of mulch and tended her with the same love
(I’m lying now…MORE love than my pouty patio-girl!)
Well it turns out Aletha comes
from a long line of hardy cherry-tomato forbearers
who thrive in poor soil and given the chance
will shoot up toward the sun.
Now when she and I stand back- to –back
to see who’s grown the tallest,
Aletha wins hands down--
even if I stand on tippy-toes in my plastic garden clogs.
She towers over me and patio-girl
and boasts of lots of baby cherry-tomatoes
(I think she’s Catholic, or maybe Mormon;
Whatever…her family size suits me just fine.
Who am I to judge a tomato by her religion,
or lack thereof?
And so the lessons here, I think
I’ll spare you all my platitudes.
But suffice to say;
you can just never tell
And that goes for people too!