FEBRUARY ROUND AND RED
… from time to time there is magic.
In a blue dumpster behind the Homestead Cafe
I find three frozen tomatoes scattered atop the trash,
hard as pool balls and equally round, fugitive winter
snuck down from Canada to hide inside them,
surreal relocation of the formless north.
Impossibly solid, almost supernatural
in the glassy brightness of their shocking red,
they trigger an instantaneous wonder,
the child’s awe when novel things spring from nothingness
and meet experience for the first time.
Yesterday, perhaps, soft enough to squish between your fingers,
seeds gushing coolly across the cutting board,
ripe skin bending on liquid hinges.
Today they clack together like polished stones,
hard enough to crack open a ram’s skull.
I start to juggle,
tilting the weekly repetition a fraction off its axis,
our weekly circuit working for Northwest Disposal,
here every Tuesday awaiting variation
like Vladimir and Estragon awaiting Godot.
When today it happens, these impossible objects
sailing round and red in snow-brightened sunlight,
sprung from nothingness and cutting awkward circles
in delinquent air, lightly at ease
over the vast, impassive earth.
—from Rattle #20, Winter 2003