tomato, born

you eat the tomato like an apple; I shiver

because we are nothing alike, you are a stranger, to me;

I crack an egg, crack a mirror, and look at myself,

feel the yolk dripping through my hands;

famously, I cannot bake, or I refuse;

I will not be told what to do

let’s have a baby, I smile

at the thought of his tomato cheeks and apple nose

and delicious black hair as thick as yours,

rippled and swimming down your face;

I imagine his tiny body squirming in my arms

and I want to take you inside of me

but you sit across the table, tomato spilling

from your lips, and I am sick with the thought

of your mouth on my breasts and your tongue in my ass;

I cannot hold down my breakfast

a boyfriend

a baby

the tomato sits plateless and seeping, bleeding out

so carelessly, you are remiss

and I would be too,

to forget how it felt to be your shadow

sponging up your mess while you sat there

pulsing with guilt, and an electricity that could not

keep the lights on,

but kept us up all night after night; we are so different;

nobody knows you but me, I’m sure;

how your rage turns inward and simmers over

until you are hitting yourself with your fists

gathering injuries and losing your mind;

the tomato cleaves around its scars, hanging from the pulp,

soft where it’s bruised, distasteful,

and you eat that, too

because I am everything to you, and nothing like you;

nobody knows me like you do, and you don’t;

but maybe a baby, I think,

cross-eyed and doe-eyed and dewy,

spitting and wailing and true,

bursting from my skin, streaming from yours;

could mend the rift; break the yolk;

bleed the fruit; rot on the vine;

and tell us what to do

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Lucy Dean Stockton