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Passata Day Elegy (Poem)

Originally published by Minimum Wage: Food Issue

Everyone, Everyone!

Out the back

of the apartment block

where like a restaurant



by green and white table cloth.

Brown sourdough fighting

to wipe the last vinegar drops.

Someone, put the dog inside.

The first tomato

held up

like a sacrifice.

The press lifted to the table,

thumbs rough like salt

peel away the blemishes

as if stroking the forehead of a cat.

A river of jars


for a kiss from a basil leaf.

The lazy susan spins,

throws the kids

into the family pot

to go

stomp, Stomp, STOMP!

Squash all their tomato heads!

A raging sea of


and gooey yellow seeds.

Dance the nutbush,

make small tomato hearts go

pump, Pump, PUMP!

Just pruney skin left

for the chickens to be fed.

Inside, the youngest girl starts to cry--

a stewing duck's head

staring at her

beneath the lid of the pot.

Don't be scared Nonno says,


the best part

is the marrow

slurped through rosemary broth.

Now take the next one outside.

Go on

don't wipe your feet,

we don't have long

your father is coming

at four o'clock.


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