Poetry Sunday: September Tomatoes

The end of the spring/summer vegetable garden is fast approaching as we anticipate the autumnal equinox a few days hence. It's a bittersweet time for the gardener, pulling out all those plants that she had so assiduously cultivated for months. But they are spent. They have fulfilled their purpose and now it is time for them to go. 

"The whiskey stink of rot" that pervades the garden confirms that this is so. And so, even though "it feels cruel," the good gardener steels herself and pulls up the plants and tosses them on the compost in a ritual as old as our great-grandmothers and even older. A ritual that may even be so powerful that it can "turn the weather." 

As we swelter under the late summer sun, we can only hope.
September Tomatoes

by Karina Borowicz

The whiskey stink of rot has settled
in the garden, and a burst of fruit flies rises
when I touch the dying tomato plants.

Still, the claws of tiny yellow blossoms
flail in the air as I pull the vines up by the roots
and toss them in the compost.

It feels cruel. Something in me isn't ready
to let go of summer so easily. To destroy
what I've carefully cultivated all these months.
Those pale flowers might still have time to fruit.

My great-grandmother sang with the girls of her village
as they pulled the flax. Songs so old
and so tied to the season that the very sound
seemed to turn the weather.


  1. I like it! It's so evocative of the end of the season.

    1. Certainly something that any gardener can relate to.

  2. Give it another month here for the tomatoes, but all my volunteer kale is mildewing before I can eat it all, very sad.

    1. There's always a bit of sadness as the season ends, isn't there?

  3. When I was a kid, after my birthday in mid August, all seemed to go downhill. School started, hurricanes began, all the summer freedom being taken away. I like this poem because it honors the seasons and the ways they affect us.

    1. Yes, even in our urbanized or suburbanized lives, seasons still matter.


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