The summer I found my two pet goldfish belly up,
like a fistful of dignity falling to sand, my mother
prayed for the tomatoes. She spoke chaos in tongues,
each convulsion meaning, “red,” “plump,” “juicy.”
That summer’s harvest yielded tomatoes so perfect,
they looked as fake as a virtuoso’s uncalloused fingers.
The hands of someone who takes showers and not baths.
My mother explained our good fortune: “I asked and
the Lord delivered.” She said He blessed us with this fruit
for letting the wall-eyed woman, with a pack of gum
and National Enquirer, cut us in the check-out line.
It was my grandmother who let the truth slip as she
sucked on her dentures. “Your mom buried Lily and
Sunflower with the tomatoes. They sure worked.
This BLT is excellent.” My mother meant “circle of
life” as a comfort, said we had made lemonade from
lemons. She buried my darlings like a tell-tale heart,
plagiarized an act of god from this domesticated rot.
Lauren Yates is a Pushcart-nominated poet who is currently based in Philadelphia. Her writing has appeared in Nerve, XOJane, FRiGG, Umbrella Factory, Softblow, and Melusine. Lauren is also a poetry editor at Kinfolks Quarterly and is currently a Poet in Residence with the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University. For more information, visit laurentyates.com.