Tomato & Lettuce

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Written By Pinang Driod

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Then, everything was garnish,
two kids and a house,
a wife who kept the

beds made, shirts ironed,
secrets hidden like dust

on the canned goods.
What can’t be washed
with vinegar—

scum of the coffee pot—or
set out in the sun with
fresh linen

my mother swears
had to be ironed
and I believe men

made work for women,
invented tile,

starch, matrimony,
and ama de casa
to chop the tomato

and lettuce sometimes
in bowls, often on the side
as adornment. What
is the relationship

between mother and
daughter, tree and limb?

The moment I say my
memory is not of her
sadness but of her laughter

I’ve gotten it all wrong.
The bright split of my
birth was to a woman

who wanted me
to wear my decoration—
a tree cleaned of its bark

after a cool winter doesn’t
forget its leaves.


This poem appears in the April 2024 print edition.

Monica Rico is the author of the poetry collection Pinion.

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