Submissions Closed Until February
Poet Laurea Poem Prompt—Fall 2022–Stacy Boe Miller
We hope Stacy Boe Miller’s poem “It was the Summer of Hard Tomatoes” will inspire you, as a reader, to discover a feeling you hadn’t named before, or a resonance you hadn’t expected. For the writer/artist, let the poem- as-prompt carry you to some place new in your work.
It was the Summer of Hard Tomatoes
sucking into themselves like I shied
inward when asked, How
is your father? like my father’s shoulders
collapsed toward his ribs.
I rubbed them softly
while mom magneted
Do Not Resuscitate
to the fridge. I learned
to sleep everywhere—plastic
chairs, a bench at the end
of his hospital bed,
even with the fourth of July
outside, helicopters daily
landing on the roof. I pulled
food into myself with a new
desperation—dark pudding with skin
on top, papery rice noodles,
fresh cherries until
I was sick. In the last days,
his mind went back
to work. He worried about the concrete
truck waiting, asked my mom to feed
his crew, fell asleep exhausted from
cleaning out the shop. I watched
his hands move in his sleep, his lips
fretting measurements. It’s OK, my mother said,
just let your father work.
This poem was first published in the Bellingham Review, June 2022, and is reprinted with permission from the author.