Creole Tomatoes

by Geoff Munsterman

Ripped from the vine once its color comes
delightfully close to rosy, it’s sent north to

flourish or rot—chambers never stiffening.
Fat & thin-skinned, the basin silt filters

a natural spiciness to the ripened fruit.
You’d like to think it some seed-spun

nothing, some frivolous ingredient
thickening your lettuce-ravaged salad.

You like to think it’s some blood-colored
fool for your amusement fattening

your listlessly scribbled grocery list.
But one bite in, with its juices dribbling

your chin you’ll know even if you won’t
admit it that the creole tomato suffers

its fools & spends its precious ripeness
trying to feed folks its flesh instead of

proving its bruises. Tastes like home
& home never needs dashes of salt

to be stomached. You could cut it
into quarters or core it like an apple,

sliver into slices, dice, or stew. Use it
how you want it, or don’t want it.

Pretty simple as a matter of fact.
It’s the Mississippi River as it drains

a continent forming more continent
for fur trappers hungering a better life

to camp out on as they hunt muskrat
snacking on basin-flavored weeds.

Trappers that’d rather capsized boats
instead of letting provincial weasels

pry what little joy a hard life gives.
Politicians rip the land from farmers

carving open oysters for the world—
what’s left produces citrus sweeter

than the golden state’s or Florida’s
and pops its crops in spite of floods,

boll weevils, crap grass, or any evils.
Roots too deep to ever waver, it lives

through even basin drifting into Gulf
in parcels large as football fields at a rate

of one per thirty-eight minutes. Exists
tenuous at best, yet produces huge fruit

too good to not get acid-sick ingesting.
A crop that takes nothing but sunrise

serious—its survival making it delicious.