- Study in Empty Bottles, and: And Then There Were Tomatoes
STUDY IN EMPTY BOTTLES
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]
AND THEN THERE WERE TOMATOES
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 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.