Where We Grow Our Tomatoes

by Ooha Uppalapati

I want to eat the tomato I grow
Without pesticides
Without a farm
Without a farmer
Without the till
Without the water from pumps and motors
Without bullocks tied to the yoke

Where will you grow it then?

In a mud pot on my window sill
Water from my indigo sprinkler
Sunlight through the bamboo blinds.

Who made your pot
on your sill, of polished wood?
What water is this
in the wells and taps?
How was it let in, this sunlight
through blinds in blades of gold?

I will make a wheel, and polish
this wood from wax from the bees
You mock me!
I will walk miles barefoot
to where the rivers are born
You mock me!
There is no hole or pit, I believe
with no light and heat
You mock me!

What length of bitumen and steel and stone?
To lay your noble path
Who is your blacksmith?
From which forest is this axe?
How are the hills and the hamlets?
Or should I ask, the mines
The blinding red dust
And the corpses lost in fires?
Will the guardians say yes?
The history and the priests
For the water you will touch, where it is born.
Let me at least mock the tomatoes
And the cucumbers
And the pigs and the goats
laid to rest, before this tomato you will grow
In a mud pot on your window sill.


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