May 13, 2009 / Creative Writing
I watched Rebel Without a Cause on TV late one college night when I learned …
February 3, 2009
Many of the Italian soldiers who died in the World War I Battle of Caporetto, near present-day Kobarid, Slovenia, had tomatoes from home in their pockets. In the years that followed, tomato plants sprang up in abundance throughout the site.
His wife planted the tomato like a kiss
in the deep breast pocket of his tunic.
Days later, he tastes the Tuscan sun
of its skin. Red flesh and seeds’
sweet jelly melt on his tongue,
as if a priest had placed it there.
Ave Maria sounds like summer hum of
insects gratia plena drizzle and birdsong, blades
Sancta Maria of grass beneath his boots,
noise from ora pro nobis sky to bone
to soil mortis nostrae, Amen.
He reaches into his wound, slick like the creases
of his wife’s graceful palms when she’s been chopping
tomatoes; he smells basil and earth, while the foehn
wind cradles his darkness away in its arms
and the Slovenian soil catches the spill of his seed.
Christina Cook is a poet and translator in New Hampshire and a graduate of the Vermont College MFA program. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of journals, most recently, Prairie Schooner, Hayden's Ferry Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Sojourn, and Front Porch Journal (online).