10/16/2013 08:07 am ET Updated Dec 16, 2013

Featured Fifty Poetry: Living Off Of Tomato Sandwiches

Linda Stone is a native of the Gulf Coast of Alabama and a resident of Danville, CA. Growing up along the Gulf Coast in a large extended family, Linda enjoyed the home-grown vegetables from family gardens as well as summers along the sugar-sand beaches. She is retired from her career in information system sales and recently moved with her husband, Larry, from Southern California to Northern CA to be near their grandchildren.

I have been a closet poet since childhood. This poem was written in a Women's Meditation Group as I contemplated a bowl of vegetables. My friends in the group encouraged me to come out of the closet as a poet.

Living off of Tomato Sandwiches

The tomato:

A competitive prize in the gardens of the uncles --

earliest, latest, biggest, best and most.

Eaten out of hand with salt.

Lunches of tomato sandwiches at the beach on lazy days,

the aunts free from the kitchen.

"Let's take a bushel of Junior's tomatoes to the Gulf and live off tomato sandwiches instead of cooking!"

A house-full of women and children,

Sand and wet towels and flip flops and toys outside the door;

Wet bathing suits hanging under the raised house.

Raised against future storms,

Now providing cool shade for noontime naps and children's games.

Walking the beach in the morning for shells

And in the evening for solace.

A circle of loving mothers for every child to find a lap;

Talking for hours under a beach umbrella while taking turns with the kids in the lapping warm waves of the gulf.

The uncle's tomato sandwiches heaped in the kitchen.

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