THE SENTIENT, BUDDHIST TOMATO GREETS ITS DESTINY by Christy Tending

THE SENTIENT, BUDDHIST TOMATO GREETS ITS DESTINY by Christy Tending

We have 100 words for green, none of which they are privy to, and all of which are an essential part of this process. We reach our way toward the sun, our skin stretching to accommodate the water in our bellies, surrounding next year’s seeds for next year’s tomatoes. It is not insignificant to remember that we hold infinite life. That there is our finite purpose, and there is the part of us that, invincibly, will live on in every year to come, so long as this land exists, so long as someone is willing to accept volunteers.

She runs her hand along my leaf and inhales. I do not know what this means except it points to aliveness and a temporary season, and our shared duty. For me to grow; and for her to nourish and then to pluck. There is dignity in the plucking, in the careful washing, in the careful selection of the knife.

It is not pain but dharma to be sliced over a salad, skin still warm, or tucked into a tart for dinner, to feed the people she loves around the little aluminum table in the shade that I can see if I crane my stem just so. Sometimes my leaves flutter in the breeze that carries their laughter east, so that I might hear it as it reverberates against the tiny flowers that will become fruit and then a part of everything. They will bite into us, laughing as juice drips onto their chins and all of the stretching and wind and slurping up water will be worth it. The way we have all turned our faces to the sky to know that we are here, before all of us surrender to what it is we came to do.

 


Christy Tending (she/they) the author of High Priestess of the Apocalypse and Creative Nonfiction Editor with Sundog Lit. Her work has been published in Longreads, The Rumpus, and Electric Literature, and received a notable mention in Best American Science and Nature Writing 2023. She lives in Oakland, California with their family. You can learn more about her work at www.christytending.com or follow Christy on Twitter @christytending.

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