Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

How to Eat a Quince

Patrick Toland
From Prairie Schooner, Vol. 85, No. 4 (Winter 2011)

Note its pregnant
portliness, as if beneath
the skin a blinded
bee bothers the inner skim
of pulp and elbowed room.
Say to your lover’s face
that she is not a fruit
to be betrothed to, other
honey apples or shapely
pears take that win.
Then you will see the quince
for what she is; a jumbled
sack of runcibles, the blunt
tang of sad acceptance,
the acid rind of truth.
But enmesh her in the lapid
water, angle her by the stem
so that the bulge and weight
of her swollen heart parts
the ruckling water—
then you have a rival
sweetness. Tenderness
like that makes for a royal
garden, a night of spoons
and empty jars of moonlight.