Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #205 - "Tomatoes," a poem
The other day when it came time to grab books for the class I teach, my eye fell on this book by Stephen Dobyns.
I used to read poems and SHORT short stories to my students every class period, and with the brief time I have with my WMU students, I have fallen out of that habit, and I miss it.
So from time to time, I grab a poem and read it.
Students should be exposed to poetry and literature in college.
I have always read this poem, "Tomatoes," to students. i do not discuss or analyze it.
Sometimes you just has to let the art flow over you.
I am very skilled and practiced at reading it given that I have been reading it for close to 30 years.
And it's about a mother who has died, Mom.
Not necessarily applicable or maybe it is.
So, today, just this.
A woman travels to Brazil for plasticsurgery and a face-lift. She is sixtyand has the usual desire to stay pretty.Once she is healed, she takes her new faceout on the streets of Rio. A young manwith a gun wants her money. Bang, she’s dead.The body is shipped back to New York,but in the morgue there is a mix-up. The sonis sent for. He is told that his motheris one of these ten different women.Each has been shot. Such is modern life.He studies them all but can’t find her.With her new face, she has become a stranger.Maybe it’s this one, maybe it’s that one.He looks at their breasts. Which ones nursed him?He presses their hands to his cheek.Which ones consoled him? He even triesclimbing onto their laps to see whichfeels most familiar but the coroner stops him.Well, says the coroner, which is your mother?They all are, says the young man, let metake them as a package. The coroner hesitates,then agrees. Actually, it solved a lot of problems.The young man has the ten women shipped home,then cremates them all together. You’ve seenhow some people have a little urn on the mantel?This man has a huge silver garbage can.In the spring, he drags the garbage canout to the garden and begins working the teeth,the ash, the bits of bone into the soil.Then he plants tomatoes. His mother loved tomatoes.They grow straight from seed, so fast and bigthat the young man is amazed. He takes the firstten into the kitchen. In their roundness,he sees his mother’s breasts. In their smoothnesshe finds the consoling touch of her hands.Mother, mother, he cries, and flings himselfon the tomatoes. Forget about the knife, the fork,the pinch of salt. Try to imagine the filialstarvation, think of his ravenous kisses.
Reflect and connect.
Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.
Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.
- Days ago = 207 days ago
- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1601.28 - 10:10