first, delicate yellow blooms star
the fuzzy branches, hiding among the leaves
that drive you wild with their fragrance.
then, a small green body emerges
from the blossom, so slowly that you think
high summer will be here before anything else happens.
but then, you go out one morning to water,
hose in hand, and find a trio of tiny tomatoes,
sprightly as eighth notes,
where only yesterday there was one.
tomorrow there are more, and the next day,
and soon the whole plant is loaded
with little gems almost the size of cherries.
and still they remain green.
you worry about the squirrels, or the birds,
or the chipmunks — competition is fierce
in this suburban wilderness — and whether they,
no true gourmets, will steal the fruit
before it has a chance to crimson.
finally, something is happening. an orange cast
creeps up from the bottom toward the stem,
taking its own sweet time to deepen.
the late afternoon sun, catching the plant at a slant,
sets all its fruit glowing like garnets,
and you realize that, at last, they are ready.
slowly, you reach out and pluck the first tomato.
slowly, you inhale the savory scent of summer on its skin.
slowly, you lift it to your mouth
and take the first bite.