Phibby Venable

when ted williams found the first tomatoes firming up
he took them in paper bags to the neighbors
his hands reaching out and dropping friendliness
feeling that sudden shot of joy in nurtured growth
something of his lay in the houses of friends
without blight, without the dreaded rot of last year's
crop, that died from the top down
sometimes he said with tomatoes what he could not say
with the heavy heat of swaying crowds
his garden was his way of smiling
it was his real diamond and he stood his ground
and pulled verses and baseball songs
in weeds that raged and tomatoes that beamed
as red cheeked and dimpled as babies
and he shot a crow once, but it flew
beyond the blaze of summer sun
as high as a wild ball and turning darkly
he found black music in the act
a song interrrupted and badly done