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Green Tomato Relish

By John I. Blair

In October when first frosts
Crept across Nebraska
Into our Kansas town
My Mother pulled tomato plants
Out of the chilling garden soil
And hung them upside-down
In Dadís shadowed, silent shop.

Green fruit covered them,
Clustering like giant grapes
Along the twisting stems,
Plump souvenirs of
Steamy August afternoons,
Caught somehow by surprise
In autumnís crisping air.

Knowing that these refugees
Would never ripen red and sweet,
Mom made another destiny
Within a fragrant kitchen:
Green tomato relish,
Paragon of piquancy,
Pot roastís boon companion.

I wound the grinder handle
While capsicum and onions,
Fat tomatoes by the score
Transfigured into shredded mounds
Of pickles-in-creation, a
Tastebud-tingling, tantalizing
Treat anticipation.

That was more than half my life ago;
The final jarís been eaten;
The recipeís been lost.
I will never see again
The swelling fruit,
The drying vines,
My Mother in her kitchen.

But when the postman
Brought today a
Hugely cushioned box
Containing just one tiny jar
Of fresh tomato relish
From a friend in Minnesota
It all came back to me.

©2007 John I. Blair


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Reader Comments

Name: Bruce Email: bcliff8285@aol.com
Comment: I like this one very much Well written, John

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