160 lbs of tomatoes is a lot of tomatoes. Really, it is lots and lots. Just one batch is 19 pint -and a-half jars, and we have two batches more to do. All the goddamn tomatoes. If the sauce wasn’t so delicious, we wouldn’t do it. That the thing about Tomato Day. You never know when it will happen. This year the picking happened, had to, on the day before our heartstruck memorial, and therefore today is sauce day. You don’t get to choose sauce day.
There’s poetry in the popping of jars. I’m gonna poem it.
Not Quite a Quart-full till the Full Moon
This is a playful moon, that laughs at us as we stir into the midnight,
so big and full like a ball for bouncing, it mocks us as we reduce the juice
and add the oil and onions.
It has been an all-day endeavor, twice over days, and the results are popping laughter.
Nothing better than that sound, of the sealing that results in laughter that seals it all.
Little pops that mean the labor’s been sound, and oh,
the glee in those pops.
Try not to remember your crashed friends.
Try not to imagine them staying awake in the wee hours to press that cider.
Try not to think. Ping ping pop. Know what it takes?
It takes hours in the field, plucking after the frost with
restless children and wise companions,
it takes many podcasts heard while washing and trimming out
the frost, that’s learning and lots of chopping, it takes good shoes and a strong back.
Lots of stirring, several burns, and the blessed ting, ting, pop, of the seal when it sticks
Imagine this over a woodstove.
It would come in batches, instead of all at once.
It would come in batches before the frost. This is where we used to help out.
Let’s keep our Grandmas and Grandpas around,
You know, for the wisdom and all, Do you turn your jars upside down?
That’s what been learned, with slight burns burns in the boiling.
It’s burned on into my mothers’ hands. That sealing sound has paint all over her hands.
Did you go out and look at the moon, even once, and if you did,
did you imagine the sauce tasted better?
I know for certain that when your jars go “ting” it is like lightening in your heart,
and I know for certain that it makes you giggle somewhere.
Here are the sounds I wish you could hear.
Holy sounds include jars sealing,
baby-smell and the grief-struck laughing,
childish laughter, glee while dancing with abandon,
wild strumming, and cold plunges. “Ting”.
All at once. These holy sounds.
I strained a lot of tomatoes today, poem peeps. Like, really, a lot. We will not run out of sauce this year. Attack of the killer tomatoes. Happy Tuesday, poemers.