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  • Study in Empty Bottles, and: And Then There Were Tomatoes
  • Allison Thorpe (bio)


After work,through the eveninguntil the TV was but a flickerin the night window,Daddy would line them upacross the table.

Each drained beer bottlereceived a belch and sigh,welcoming flairbefore he whittleda treasured placein his new design.

Enablers,we would bring himthe next cold onelike clay or paintfor an eager master,careful not to jarhis skillful creation.

Every so often,before he passed out,he would cock his headin wonder at such art,at what muse mightapplaud the drink. [End Page 110]

Mama dismantledhis geometric handiworkeach hectic morning,bottles we kidswould have to haulout to the garage.

It never seemed right though,like splotching a Rembrandt,taking blade to Picasso,blighting what a mantook pride in crafting,his presence so carefullycarved into the world. [End Page 111]


Summer brags outside the tall windowsInside, the air chatters winter

Our workshop assignment:Describe something lost

Into this season of sun and longest daysI write about tomatoes

Planting them in my journal of absencesAlongside whippoorwill and gypsy breeze

No room for their sprawl of limb and fruitIn this corseted world of concrete angles

The pen in my hand now a stick I pokeIn the dirt of garden memories

How in our first year of not knowingWe filled row after hard worked row

With their leafy zest among wire enclosuresDreaming the wealth of sauce and salad

Of sealing that lavish flame to jarsA primal passion to melt any snowy horizon

How soon those wire cages groanedWith the swell of animal wildness [End Page 112]

The redness a blundered seaWith no hope of parting

Our lives became a slakingAn orbital glut of flesh and skin and seed

Even the chickens turned awayFrom our lavish offerings

Every measured garden afterBrought laughter for such innocence

But then we remembered that first ripenessTat plump of sun you placed

Childlike and warm into my handsThe mouth of summer singing [End Page 113]

Allison Thorpe

Allison Thorpe is a writer from Lexington, Kentucky. Her recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Roanoke Review, Split Rock Review, Pembroke Magazine, Hamilton Stone Review, and Pleiades.



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pp. 110-113
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