My children and I picked
the last of the tomatoes
one late September afternoon
shortly before my marriage
to their father fell apart.
The frogs sang their syncopated
melody in the silvered twilight
of the emptied garden as the evening
wound down to bath and bed.
Steam rose from the water boiling
on the stove, and I prepped the red
fruits to preserve them and feed us
sauces, chili, soups, and stews
through winter’s upcoming chill.
The mystery of preservation,
of feeding those most beloved to me
through harshness and despair
never failed to amaze and sustain me.
I plunged their red roundness into
first boiling water, then cold, peeling
away and discarding the unnecessary
skin to reveal the tender flesh beneath,
piling them in their juicy fullness into jars
to savor another day.