(Dedicated to Max Wheat who offered critique)

Cruise around the tomato beds
To look for red roundness among green foliage
Stoop and fondle a candidate
Squeeze to feel a little give
Give it a gentle twist
It should break off easily
Look for more by spreading vines gently
Gently place the tomato in the best basket you own

Admire and recall the long process that led to this point:

Digging and sifting compost
Planting seeds in sterile starter mix
Watching for tiny green growth of first leaves
Watering
Planting
Staking
Mulching, adding compost

Bring it into the kitchen
If this is the first tomato, plan a small ceremony
Welcome the tomato, sing to it, adore it, smudge it
Return to the bed daily to repeat the above

Tom Stock

Tom Stock has been involved in the Long Island environmental and outdoor education community for decades.

He has published two books; THE NISSEQUOGUE RIVER: A JOURNEY and HIDDEN AGENDA; A POETRY JOURNEY.He has also published many essays and poems in such journals as the Long Island Forum and The Long Islander.

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