I know why the caged tomato sings.
Elbows pressed against the rusting bars,
leafing past the bent soldered rings,
she loads a glowing fruit, warm and plump
as dusky sun, flush with lycopene.
Above zucchini crawling in the dirt,
beneath the hackling crow, she hums
melodies half-heard, synesthesia sweet.
Wiping my chin, dribbling my shirt,
I know what the caged tomato sings.
by John Savoie
Poet’s Note: Many readers, I suspect, will think Maya Angelou first, but the prime influence here is Dunbar’s “Sympathy,” then Angelou (and a wink from Keats). Oh sad Paul, would you smile on this? Verily, I think you do.
Editor’s Note: I read this after having just come inside from checking on my antique tomatoes. A tiny green fruit promises me the richness of this poem, in due time.