Tomato Afternoon -1944

Tomato Afternoon -1944

by Karen L. Wolff

Iowa swelters
in the still, humid air
our kitchen thick with tomato pungence
Ball canning jars gleam on a white dishtowel

the skins pop,
she peels, stuffs them into jars
a spoonful of salt on top
seals them with rubber-edged caps and rings
for a plunge into the steaming canner

Later
her jars sit fat on the countertop
Sam Rayburn’s voice growls from the Philco
counterpoint to the kitchen clatter
as the Democratic convention nominates
Harry S. Truman for Vice President
Harry S. Truman whose middle initial stands for nothing
Harry S. Truman who will order Fat Boy to Hiroshima

she removes the Dazey can opener from its wall hanger
replaces it with an ice crusher
handle like an over-sized pencil sharpener
clear shards plink into a drinking glass
Coca Cola from a green bottle
hisses over the ice

she sips, cotton housedress
wilted against her skin
waiting for the pop, pop, pop of sealed jars
brief respite before she fixes our supper

I was six
I chose the ripest one
from the bushel on the floor
took the saltshaker
sat outside on our dimpled sidewalk
its heat baking my legs
juice dripped gold vermilion
on my white shirt


Dr. Karen Lias Wolff has retired from a successful career in Music, and is now a published fiction writer. Her first novel, The Green Years, is scheduled to be available from BHC Press in 2019.

Poetry by Chris Maloney

Poetry by Chris Maloney

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Poetry by Angela G. Fabunan