Sargon Names All the Tomatoes in Existence
by Reilly Cox
Arkansas Traveler. Adoration. Better Boy.
___________Big Rainbow. Brandywine. Cherokee Purple.
_________________Early Girl. Ferris Wheel. Garden Peach.
___________Greater Baltimore. Hillbilly. Juliet.
______Mortgage Lifter. Orange Oxheart. Tiny Tim …
The pine-rot man points these out to the boy hiding in his shadow,
______tells him the story of each, the why of their colors,
their stippling, their wicked sizes.
______That boy, a great grandchild named after mothers,
born of a grandson named after grandsons,
______quietly follows the last of the great patriarchs,
___________gnaws a single cherry tomato, refuses to open
______his mouth in fear that the birds will steal it,
___________or a witching daughter will howl.
_____________________He looks up the mountain
_________________of the great grandfather, his own grandfather
___________passed away from blossom rot now twelve seasons—
______watches the tomato vines taking root in his beard,
the labored breathing of the gardener as he becomes the garden.
______Sargon knocks each globe of fruit with the hollow of his cane
___________and feels an echo start in his ring lung;
______he presses now into the spaces between the vines,
tenderly, like a spade turning over the air;
______mutters an incantation taught by the witching daughter,
___________does not mind the birds starting to circle—
______names spilling from his mouth, furls of smoke from a pipe:
Joseph. Matthew. Michael.
______Raymond. Ruth. Betty.
___________Robert. Robert. Robert …
“All I Have Loved” by Bill Wolak