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January 2014, vol 9, no 4

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Dennis Magliozzi

Tomato Season

Late summer –
Vine ripe tomatoes
dangle in soft green leaves

Each summer my grandfather would harvest his tomatoes and make sandwiches with them – a simple combination of a fresh white bun, tomato slices, mayonnaise and sea salt. He would cut slices of tomato with a bread knife and serve them at the picnic table on his patio, at the beach, or out on my uncle’s boat. And wherever you were when you bit into them you knew that you were biting into more than bread and tomato. You knew then, even as a child, that you were sharing in a kind of family sacrament, a temporal worship of fresh bread, summer tomatoes and wherever you were while eating.

I am always amazed when I slice into the tomato on my cutting board and see the red flesh that turns soft pink towards the center. The seed sacks, if you are not careful, will spill out on the board and picking them up with your fingers to taste is so difficult, so difficult as they slip between your grasp. But pull all this together, gather the tomato, gather it on a bun lathered with mayonnaise – some, I have heard, enjoy baking the sandwich for fifteen or so minutes, but I prefer the sun, the given moment of the day as it makes of the sandwich a place both here and a part of a past that is me and so many others I loved and lost and regain again.

Summer afternoon
Biting into the soft pink
flesh of the past