I tell my father to grow tomatoes now

I tell my father to grow tomatoes now

Because we don’t know when the markets won’t have them anymore.

At least this way, my father won’t have to

Mask his face for the world but not his paranoia,

Sanitise his palms and calloused hands before he pulls open our door,

Wear shoes outside our house and venture out for tomatoes,

And run the risk of meeting errant mask-less neighbours,

Run back home with a bag of tomatoes and climb flights of stairs

To reach home and remove his shoes

Outside the door and wipe his feet on a disinfectant doused mat,

And wash his hands to wash away the remnants of an unwelcome guest.

I tell my father to grow tomatoes now

Because I don’t want him to go out

And come home to expend energy over well placed paranoia

About washing hands, fruits, vegetables and feet,

About touching surfaces and breathing the same air as the rest of us,

When he could sit near his home-garden and dig some soil in a giant mud pot,

Place some tomato seeds and tell us when the seedlings will start to show.

I tell my father to grow tomatoes now

Because we have the privilege to do so.

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