Happy 17th Birthday George!
She brought home the tomato plant in a paper cup,
rooted it among the tiger lilies.
Straight off the school bus, she tended it,
lavished it with rain and rhymes: potato, play-doh—
and for the greedy blooms she knew to pinch—tornado.
The vine grew like mad, had to be staked, staked
again, then tied and caged.
By summer, the plant sagged
with the color of rage. She gathered the fruits
delicately into her shirt tail, lined them up
like quiet children on the window sills.