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  • NYS Writers Institute

Poetry Friday: "September Tomatoes"


"Esther vs. the Tomatoes" Photo by gwen

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.



(Photo credit: Esther vs. the Tomatoes by gwen, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.)


© 2013 by Karina Borowicz, whose most recent book of poems is Proof (Codhill Press, 2014). First published in the journal Ecotone and is reprinted by permission of Karina Borowicz


Karina Borowicz

Karina Borowicz is the author of Rosetta (2021), winner of the Ex Ophidia Poetry Prize; Proof (2014), winner of the Codhill Poetry Award; and The Bees Are Waiting (2012), winner of the Marick Press Poetry Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award, and named a must read by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. She is a former intern poetry editor at The Paris Review and a graduate of the MFA program at the University of New Hampshire.

She has published translations from Russian and French. Trained as an historian, Borowicz also holds an MFA in Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She makes her home in the Connecticut River Valley of Western Massachusetts. www.karinaborowicz.com