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