The air steams like a pasta bowl fresh from the stove
down the screaming toddler's rosebud cheeks.
Golden ringlets cling to her forehead,
dangling like the Slinky she plays with
in front of her marble-blue-agate eyes.
bat cracks and wise cracks surround her.
Squeals echo from the mounds of loam
behind the new construction around her
monopoly board, cookie cutter, house.
The sand box she sits in is full
of a scattering of scrap two-by-four blocks.
Using a naked purple-haired troll doll,
she attacks the pine block castle,
tumbling the battlement.
A pirate plank spans the puddle
created by the leaky green garden hose.
The barefoot tike, troll in hand, starts across
the board toward the moonscape
of clod mounds; where her sister and friends
run screeching armed with rip rotten tomatoes.
Each new neighbor plants, themselves,
their cars and the sprinklers in their gardens.
Polish Catholics, English Presbyterians
and an errand run away Jew grow side by side.
Tomato paste Italians, knackwurst and borsht
wafts through the same soupy air,
as the kids play King of the Mountain,
catapulting Big Boys and Plum tomatoes like missiles
through the August air they land with a splat.
The only stop action is the distance ringing bell
from the Good Humor truck
here on Cherry Tomato Alley.