Early Girls

Early Girls


I unbind roots,

push them deep into dirt.

Cherokee Red, Summer Set, Husky Cherry,

and, of course, my favorite, the Early Girls—

up to my elbows,

already with a yellow flower,

and a single green minute tomato, smaller 

than the tip of my pinkie finger.


Sun warms bare shoulders, freckled skin

still smooth, one ageless part of me.

Somewhere there’s still a memory

of my grandmother, planting tomatoes in her garden,

placing calloused hands over my own.

Now tamp them down, like this, she said,

guiding my motions. This is how we learn.

Even now, I still need someone to show me the way,

unsure if I am over-watering, using too much fertilizer,

not pruning enough.


Somehow though, the Early Girls always grow

taller and fuller, even bear fruit until frost.

By July’s end, the first harvest already plucked

from its vine, round and rosy, still warm,

cupped in my palm,

and oh, so sweet in my mouth.

What are you looking for?