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Tomato vines, and her tanned, wrinkled shoulders

Her silver hair hanging † † †
in a braid down her † † †
thin, strong back, † † †
made me ache to † † †
be like her as † † †
we picked † † †
green tomatoes † † †
to put on the † † †
windowsill. † †  
† † †
The smell of the tomato vine † † †
was menthol to my † † †
queer little mind, † † †
something like soul salve † † †
with its elusive † †  
tang of green † † †
and spice † † †
and pure. † † †
† † †
Her planter boxes held † † †
snapdragons, † † †
and petunias, † † †
and pansies, † † †
and the box nearest †
to the kitchen † † †
always gave a few † † †
tomatoes, peppers and eggplant † † †
during the hot Florida summer. † † †
† † †
She wore gloves to keep her † † †
nails nice, † † †
and lipstick, because a lady does; † † †
her skin a modern nightmare † † †
of wrinkles and color, † † †
and she, †  
a suede goddess of things that grow, † † †
like plants and granddaughters, † †  
would sigh as her hands sank into † †  
the good ground, †  
and the sun made †  
sweat droplets † † †
dance among † † †
the baby hairs †  
at her temples. † † †
† † †
She crossed an ocean, † † †
lost her only † †
child to a dragonís kiss, †  
and in an era when † † †
women didnít, † † †
she did. † †  
† † †
She had a god, † † †
a garden, † † †
a granddaughter † † †
to comfort her † † †
in her beautiful † † †
aging, † † †
† † †
and while I never † † †
heard her cuss, †
she embodied † † †
the art of † † †
zero fucks. † † †
† † †
In those brief years † †  
I had a mother; †  
† †
in those years † †  
I still believed I could † † †
empty the ocean † † †
with a paper cup, † †  
and have an unbent back † † †
with a good heart. † † †
† † †
In those days, † † †
she put my hair † † †
in a braid † † †
so that I could † † †
I could † † †
be like her; † †  
† † †
she put my hands † † †
in the earth † † †
so that Iíd † †
remember † † †
to be † † †
like me † † †
† † †
and until I smelled † † †
the tomato vine † † †
in your planter box † †  
† † †
Iíd forgotten † † †
how to be either †
Written by Betty
Published | Edited 15th Jul 2023
Author's Note
For Missy's "Mama's Herbery"

I had a mama for my first 10 years. I called her grandma.
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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