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I am thrilled to have this poem appear in the book Dear Tomato: An International Crop of Food and Agriculture Poems, edited by Carol-Ann Hoyte. I love the collection. It includes a wonderful variety of poems and subjects and writers, and it’s a perfect size to hold in your hand.

I’ve lived in both New York City and Hong Kong where very few people can have backyard gardens. As I sat down to write a poem to submit to the anthology, I was thinking about the kids who live in cities like these. I didn’t want them to feel left out, to feel that a book about food and agriculture wouldn’t have something in it for them.

I was also remembering a Facebook post that a friend had put up when she was growing tomatoes in her window. How would she pollinate them, she wondered. I enjoyed seeing her pictures and the suggestions people made.

With these thoughts in mind, I sat down to write, and I imagined I was the child with no backyard but with a window and a tomato plant. I almost felt like an actor getting into character. Once I was in the  head of the child, and I was sitting next to my plant, I knew what I would say and what I would write.

I did want the poem to be scientifically accurate so I read about tomato pollination and learned that they don’t actually need bees. They are typically self-pollinating with a little help from the wind. However, I did also find that there was such a thing as too much scientific accuracy. For a long time, the poem read:

that spreads your pollen
from stamen to pistil.

I liked the idea of getting such great words in the poem but in the end I decided they interrupted the flow of the poem.

My favorite metaphors in the poem are the stars and the moons. I grow cherry tomatoes myself and I remember going out to look at them when I was writing and noticing that the flowers looked like stars. Stars naturally led to moons. Growing tomatoes naturally led to eating them. Eating the harvest naturally led to wanting to save some of the seeds for next year.

I hope you’ll take a look at the many other wonderful poems in the anthology. Renee at No Water River posted videos of four of the poets reading their work.

This was a big week for learning new things. I discovered it wasn’t too difficult to put words over an image in Word or to share sound through SoundCloud. You might want to give it a try. If I can do it, you can too.

For more Poetry Friday, visit Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong at Poetry for Children.

See you soon,














A Poem for Your Pocket

Here’s a poem for your pocket.
Or it might be for your shoe.
You could tuck it in a mitten.
Any secret place will do.

You could hide it in your hat
or stuff it up your sleeve.
You can cram it in your backpack.
Please just take it when you leave.

It’s a small and smudged reminder
of something you should know—
I will always love you
no matter where you go.


I hope you’ll forgive me for the cheesy mom poem. I can’t help it. I am a mom and I guess that’s going to slip out occasionally. I should add that I wrote the original draft of this poem when my daughter was in kindergarden. She’s now graduating from 8th grade so perhaps I’m feeling a bit nostalgic.

This is the only poem this month that I didn’t write from scratch. (I did revise it substantially.) It’s been a great month. I’ve enjoyed writing every day (for the most part). For those of you who have followed along and commented or “liked” my poems on Facebook, thank you! It’s not easy writing and posting for 30 days in a row and I couldn’t have done it without you. Happy National Poetry Month!


©Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved, 2015
















The Globe

I spin the globe
with my fingertips,
reading wrinkled
mountain ranges
like a person reading braille.
I find the spot
that means home
and try to imagine it
on a real-sized planet
swooping through endless darkness,
part of a massive solar system,
and the thought
feels too big
to fit
in my head.

© Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved, 2015














The Binder and the Piece of Paper: A Dialogue

I am a binder—
loyal and true.
I keep loose leaf papers
looking like new.

I won’t go in there.
Rings aren’t for me.
I hope I get lost.
I want to be free.

Free papers fly,
then they get tossed.
The depths of a bag
is where you’ll get lost.

I want to be useful,
my words should be read,
but the snap of your teeth
fills me with dread.

I swear it won’t hurt.
Quick! The day’s over soon!
With me you’ll be safe
(at least until June).


© Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved, 2015











paper holder,
never let a letter
slip from place in your crisp cardboard


Yes, I wrote a cinquain about a folder.

© Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved, 2015












the difference between
what’s important and what’s not–
yellow highlighter

© Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved, 2015














A Sticky Note of Apology

Forgive me
for I have failed.
You wrote one word
across my face
and stuck me
to the door
where you couldn’t help
but see me.
I stayed there
focused on my goal
until the wind blew
through a window
(the one you left open).
Despite my best efforts,
and layers of pressure-sensitive adhesive,
I fell,
onto the saxophone case
still sitting
by the door.


This is what happens when you combine school supplies with forms featured by Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect.


For more Poetry Friday and a great explanation of what it is, visit Renee at No Water River.

© Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved, 2015













Instructions for a Favorite Pen

Follow my lead—
first straight, then
hook, loop, and roll,
glide across the page
like a skater with sharp blades
on fresh ice.
Leave your mark
on my paper,
not my pocket.
Remember, I need you.
Don’t run away
in someone else’s hand.


© Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved, 2015














Earth Day

I’m done with this desk
and tapping on keys,
looking through windows,
watching the breeze.

Today is a day
for dancing with trees,
singing to clouds,
and following bees.


© Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved, 2015