Sandra Beasley

Cherry Tomatoes

Little bastards of vine.

Little demons by the pint.

Red eggs that never hatch,

just collapse and rot. When


my mom told me to gather

their grubby bodies

into my skirt, I’d cry. You

and your father, she’d chide––


the way, each time I kicked

and wailed against sailing,

my dad shook his head, said

You and your mother.


Now, a city girl, I ease one

loose from its siblings,

from its clear plastic coffin,

place it on my tongue.


Just to try. The smooth

surface resists, resists,

and erupts in my mouth:

seeds, juice, acid, blood


of a perfect household.

The way, when I finally

went sailing, my stomach

was rocked from inside


out. Little boat, big sea.

Handful of skinned sunsets.



“Cherry Tomatoes” is from Theories of Falling (New Issues, 2008).