Fat Water Tomatl - Angela Barber

"Fat Water" Tomatl - Angela Barber (Lincoln, Nebraska)

The passive, ripening fruit

suspended in the sunlight,

draws in from all sides.

Stem from

vine from

stalk from

roots from

fungi from

soil from

worm from

rock, leaves, roots.

Inner passages taking in and

redistributing the remains of our days.

Outside the "plump thing with a naval" (xitomatl)

basks in the sun,

thin skin touched by rays,

passing particles dusting the surface,

absorbed in the mix of

expanding flesh.

Transformation of color

beckons the curious to

touch, taste, and

receive the whole process.

Over and over this

continuous loop of life

provides more than we could ask for or

imagine, naturally.

At home, fruits continuously

give from their abundance.

Here in the plains,

removed from continuous heat,

tomatoes drop from the vine,

and held in the earth,

undeterred by the cold,

wait for the signal to begin again.

*In the process of looking for the technical name of the belly button of the tomato, I learned from The National Gardening Association's website garden.org that tomatoes are believed to originate in Peru and Mexico where they were called tomatl literally meaning "fat water" in the Nahuatl language. The Axtecs cultivated a new species, the red or yellow fruit, and called it xitomatl  that translates to "plump thing with a naval". Another website helpful in this search was the Nahuatl Dictionary found at https://nahuatl.uoregon.edu