TIE Poet of the Month: ‘Parable With Figs’, by Tess Taylor

How in this light Anya
emails the listserv: Too many figs:

Come and take.
On her porch, weathering bags.

Inside, ripe stars: Dark puckers, O.
The pears need eating today

says Carl at the farm-stand, stuffing soft
fists in my sack. In the hot hour

at the end of a market
we used to give peaches away—


produce too heavy, a day shy
of rot. This ripest world

beyond price, so close to splitting.
Along our fence, passionfruit

topple the vine. Anya
thanks me for coming—as if I’m the one

doing the favor. Still walking home
in this light I consider

the parable where the kingdom of heaven
is the vineyard owner, the one who hires

at dawn, noon, and dusk, then pays each worker
for a full day’s work. Insensible gift.

Illogical plenty beyond will or earning.
Outpouring we don’t understand or control.

I’ve been thinking about it, slicing this fruit.
God the scrambler of economies,

God the perishable, God the bursting,
God the abundant, ripe fruit in water:

Profligate season, & the juice dripping
as we stand at the sink and eat and eat.

unnamed Tess Taylor’s chapbook, The Misremembered World, was selected by Eavan Boland for the Poetry Society of America’s inaugural chapbook fellowship. The San Francisco Chronicle called her first book, The Forage House, “stunning” and it was a finalist for the Believer Poetry Award. Her second book is Work & Days, which Stephen Burt called “our moment’s Georgic.” Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, Boston Review, Harvard Review, The Times Literary Supplement, and other places. Taylor chairs the poetry committee of the National Book Critics Circle, is currently the on-air poetry reviewer for NPR’s All Things Considered, and was most recently visiting professor of English and creative writing at Whittier College. Taylor has received awards and fellowships from MacDowell, Headlands Center for the Arts, and The International Center for Jefferson Studies. Taylor recently was awarded a Fulbright US Scholar Award to study and lecture at Queen’s University Belfast, in Northern Ireland, for six months in 2017.

featured image via Eliza Adam on Flickr.

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