Celeste Provencher - "The Tomatoes," "The Neighbor."

The Tomatoes

A blonde child brings
by a blue bucket with bulging
red tomatoes in it. I am ten
and the open door reveals
our neighbor’s chainsaw going haywire
like Einstein’s crazy hair. Imagine
if Albert had lived in the humid streets
of Dubai. He would have been too busy
controlling his hair
to come up with the theory of relativity.
He would have had a yellow bicycle
to ride away his days and get the air
flowing through his white strands.
He would have said “c’est la vie”
and gone on with his life, too busy
to consider rationalism
or the works of Proust.

The Neighbor

Mrs. Ripley bore two sets of twins.
The first set lived two
days. The second only had the
soup-course of life— Margaret dead
at fifteen, Joseph at twenty-four. Her husband
died in World War II.
M.I.A. No more letters
home. Her sister-in-law committed
suicide with a paring knife
in the upstairs back
bedroom. Ruined
a homemade quilt. A regular
Hitchcock screenplay. But her niece,
Clarise, comes to visit her every Tuesday.
They pull weeds from the beds
and tend to flower pots
that sit in front of the virgin
plastered Mary, cracked and milky,
who looks down at the flowers and keeps

her back to the lake.


Celeste Provencher

was born in Manchester, NH. She attended Simmons College and Vermont College of Fine Arts where she earned an MFA in writing. Her poetry has aired on New Hampshire’s Portsmouth Community Radio and in the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Group’s anthology. She lives in Charlestown, MA with her husband.


Posted on November 6, 2013 .