You offer me a tomato, still warm
from afternoon sun where it hung
globe-heavy, a vibrant splash
of lipstick red against the vine.
The summer I turned nine, my mother
gave me a tomato. My childish
taste buds revolted—oh, slippery glob, oh
odious mucilaginous lump, I gagged.
Now, I hold it for a moment, relish
its seductive plumpness, the smooth
new-car gloss of skin, inhale
The encyclopedia in my fourth-grade
classroom informed me the tomato
was once thought poisonous,
a fact I didn’t doubt.
I take the knife and slice through soft flesh,
crafting two heart-shaped halves,
revealing tiny seeds and light
jelly pulp, smiling
to remember my surprise
that the Church christened it the devil’s fruit—
Eve may have tempted Adam with a harlot
red tomato, rather than the apple!—
But this summer, I bite greedily.
Zesty flavors meld on my tongue, a juicy rhapsody
of spicy and sweet. For adults only, I say,
offering you the other heart-shaped half.
Kim Zach is a high school English instructor and has also taught composition at a local community college. She has written articles for a variety of magazines such as Woman’s World, Great Expeditions, American Secondary Education, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) and Farm & Ranch Living. She has also published three YA non-fiction books and a play. Her poem “Weeding My Garden” is scheduled to appear in the spring 2015 issue of U.S. 1 Worksheets.