POETRY: Barbara A Meier – The Act of Canning Tomatoes

The Act of Canning Tomatoes 


“Good to see you alive.”


“You too.”


“How are you?”


Well, plugging away at least.

Sometimes I even forget you are out there.

I get a rush at your name then anger all over again,

then just sad…

It’s called:



Replacing thoughts.

I go to work,

working on talking to me, preserving me.

It reminds me of the labor of tomato canning:


Boiling water to remove skin, the squeeze to remove seeds, sanitizing lids and jars,

sweating over the stove, burning fingers, packing the tomatoes tight.

Testing, tapping to assure the seal.

Being the bacteria slayer.

Unpacking rubies to the mudroom shelves….

Unpacking my life,to assemble, store, once more.

Killing bacteria is hard stuff.

I am resolved for this minute, this second, this hour,

to cut, scald, juice, seal,and hot water bath can.

It is called Self Preservation.


“I am fine.”

“And you?”


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