It's August, and here on the prairie, we're overrun with tomatoes. Canning season is in full bloom. Today's poem first appeared in Yankton Press & Dakotan.
This is no English tea garden, pal.
No fragile limp fuschia
edged in periwinkle ruffles,
no meandering crocus border,
wisteria draped over a pale trellis,
no painted wrought-iron bench
resting in the thick, damp shade.
No thin ivy dipping its compact buds
in a moss-blue wading pool,
dotted with alabaster cherubs and
creamy-white water lilies.
No sir, this is serious prairie stock.
Drought-resistant bush beans,
sixty quarts worth,
squared off in rotten railroad ties.
Screaming red Big Girl tomatoes
strung to chicken wire
with old support hose.
Hot jalapeño peppers splitting
in a sudden mud-splattering downpour—
a brief storm that somewhere washes out
a delicate, orderly flower bed.