A Poem By Natalie Shapero

Tomatoes Ten Ways

On a lampless arc of interstate, playing
I DON’T SPY, the nighttime game

where you say what you don’t see and wait
for someone else to also fail to see it —

are we there yet? I just want to get
back now, back to my hollow, back

to my shelf and mattress and electric
oven where decades of hands

have worn the temperature marks
clean off the dial — it’s always a guess.

Cooking is important. It prepares us

for how to sustain each other
in the emptiness ahead. Bruschetta
for sharing made from strips

of garbage. A novel kind of starchy pie
baked over one tea light. Children,

today was sent here by the future
to beg you to think of your country

like a body — it is only yours
for now. It is only a matter of time

before it buckles and kicks and ousts
you and sinks, like the very

body it is, right back to the ground.

Natalie Shapero is the Professor of the Practice of Poetry at Tufts University and an editor at large of the Kenyon Review. Her poetry collections are Hard Child and No Object.

The Poetry Section is edited by Mark Bibbins.