Before the Frost


 I stopped watering the tomato plants
 sometime in September.  Here it is

 November and they still wring from the soil
 condensation, cat pee, the odd drop of rain.

 They reach for the last scraps of sun
 I know death is a degree away.  They,

 in their oblivion, hold out the hard
 and small green fruit of hope.

 * * *

 Lorri Smith (12/98)