Welcome, readers, to another installment of our Pick-a-Poem series here on the blog! Each Wednesday, we feature a new poem here on the blog. If you’re looking for a mid-week poetry break, this might be just the thing! As always, this week’s poem comes from Poetry Daily, which is a great site for finding new poetry to read. This week, we’re featuring a poem called Parable, written by Sandra Beasley.
According to her bio page on Poetry Daily, Sandra Beasley has written several collections, including I Was the Jukebox, which won the Barnard Women Poets Prize, and Theories of Falling, which won the New Issues Poetry Prize. She also wrote a memoir entitled Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life. She currently serves on the faculty with the low-residency MFA program at the University of Tampa.
Parable by Sandra Beasley
Worries come to a man and a woman.
Small ones, light in the hand.
The man decides to swallow his worries,
hiding them deep within himself. The woman
throws hers as far as she can from their porch.
They touch each other, relieved.
They make coffee, and make plans for
the seaside in May.
All the while, the worries
of the man take his insides as their oyster,
coating themselves in juice—first gastric,
then nacreous—growing layer upon layer.
And in the fields beyond the wash-line,
the worries of the woman take root,
stretching tendrils through the rich soil.
The parable tells us Consider the ravens,
but the ravens caw useless from the gutters
of this house. The parable tells us
Consider the lilies, but they shiver in the side-yard,
What the parable does not tell you
is that this woman collects porcelain cats.
Some big, some small, some gilded, some plain.
One stops doors. One cups cream and another, sugar.
This man knows they are tacky. Still, when the one
that had belonged to her great-aunt fell
and broke, he held her as she wept, held her
even after her breath had lengthened to sleep.
The parable does not care about such things.
Worry has come to the house of a man
and a woman. Their garden yields greens gone
bitter, corn cowering in its husk.
He asks himself, What will we eat? They sit
at the table and open the mail: a bill, a bill, a bill,
an invitation. She turns a saltshaker cat
between her palms and asks, What will we wear?
He rubs her wrist with his thumb.
He wonders how to offer
the string of pearls writhing in his belly.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s featured poem! For more of these posts, click right here.
— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan