Encore Magazine August 2021

Page 24

POETRY ENCORE

Hold On, Little Tomato I’m watering the tomatoes in my nightgown again, waiting for them to turn red the way I waited then for my babies’ first steps. I sweet talk and encourage, nudge nature along, shake the bright blossoms, pollinate with Q–tips, watercolor brush. When the woodchuck comes, as he does, gnawing the cherries off the Sungolds, I spray each leaf—putrescence of fish meal, eggs, cat food and clove. Urea I will smell on my fingers in bed tonight. The cure entices flies, but all salvation comes with a price. Oh, I try to stop viewing these plants as more than what they are, but I’m not willing to make them less. I slide the skin off the New Girl like my grandmother taught me, lift its weight and imperfect shape from the ice water. I’ve grown something true here. Cupped in my palm, this calm little fruit sits solid. — Gail Martin Martin is a Michigan native who lives in Kalamazoo, where she works as a psychotherapist. Her new book, Disappearing Queen, won the Wilder Poetry Prize from Two Sylvias Press. It’s her third collection. Her second book, Begin Empty–Handed, won the Perugia Press Poetry Prize in 2013 and the Housatonic Book Award for Poetry at Western Connecticut State University in 2014. Some of her recent work can be seen in Beloit Poetry Journal, Blackbird, Juxtaprose and Willow Springs. Her website is gailmartinpoetry.com.

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24 | ENCORE AUGUST 2021

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