it was after the war
that she reassembled things
sour tomatoes at the end of their brittle vine

it was after the carnage
and the raking of flesh
that she found herself alone
released like a nubile youth
except she wasn’t

the starting over wasn’t so bad
since everything she left
reminded her of him
sour tomatoes tasting the earth

pilgrimage of landlord interviews
dry roads of groaning neighborhoods
families splashing their lives in her face
until the last road to the tiny cottage
where she put everything in its place

her floors were clean
where her heart was mauled
her condiments organized
where her brain was scrambled
her windows sparkled
where her eyes were marred

and she grew a new garden
buried the war everyday with her spade
worked until her back ached
and the garden was clean of the enemy

this patch was all she had left
to put her fingers into
all she had that she could keep from dying
combat the memory bombs

grow sweet tomatoes
to pick
before they could turn brown
and spit sour mash

to reap
before they lost the war

Sleeping Beauty, Courtesy Sarah Curtiss

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