Why We Feed Him Tomatoes


At the new house, tomatoes grow in the side yard

between the weeds. We pluck them off their lopsided vines

when they’re still orange, the lush red tint

only beginning to fill in at the top. If you leave

them outside too long, the ants get them: hundreds

of sets of miniature legs crawl inside the fruit’s skin,

microscopic mouths suck out the juice. Instead,

we line them on the windowsill in the kitchen

where they eat up chunks of afternoon sunlight and grow red.

We shovel them in plastic bags for visitors, a parting

gift from our home, and each night at dinner, we slice

a single one into tiny squares and trapezoids

and serve the pieces to our son. We say “Eat them. Remember?

You helped pick them,” and watch as he chews

the spongy skin and tiny seeds between his baby teeth.

We wait for him to swallow. If he eats enough,

maybe, the dirt from this new place will sink

into his blood and erase the particles from other places.

This earth might eat up the other homes, the other earths,

the other planets that created him, strip his veins,

erase the biological matter, the spare molecules

we can’t touch from the outside.







Photo by Dan Klimke


About Author


Emily Lake Hansen is the author of Home and Other Duty Stations (Kelsay Books, forthcoming 2020) and the chapbook "The Way the Body Had to Travel" (dancing girl press, 2014). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Nightjar Review, SWWIM Every Day, Stirring: A Literary Collection, and BARNHOUSE among others. A 2018 Best of the Net nominee, she serves as the Poetry Editor for Minerva Rising Press and spends most of her time playing children's board games in Atlanta.

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