The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

   bread unleavened by love
   becomes a stone

Unable to sleep, the man opened a book
and nibbled the last of the day’s baguette.
The first page he read used the phrase
“the tares of domesticity.” He remembered

the parable. The tares would be burned,
but the man wasn’t exactly sure what a tare was.
The man knew the tare was Satan’s weed—
the dictionary called it a “vetch”—

and his quick research revealed the grain
toxic to humans. And yet, during famine,
medieval monks shared a bread of vetch meal,
praising and giving thanks for its bitterness.

How to reconcile such humility with the bitterness
of this life? Then the man considered the end
of the stale baguette, hard as stone in his hand,
though early that morning at the fragrant bakery,

his wife had purchased the baguette fresh,
still soft and moist in its warm paper.

Richard Jones received an MA from the University of Virginia and an MFA from Vermont College. Jones’s first collection of poetry, Country of Air (1986), won the Posner Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers. He has since published several additional collections, including The Correct Spelling & Exact Meaning (2009), Apropos of Nothing (2006), and The Blessing: New and Selected Poems (2000), which won the Midland Authors Award. Jones has received the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines’ Editors Award for his work editing the literary journal Poetry East. He has also edited the anthologies Poetry and Politics (1985) and Of Solitude and Silence: Writings on Robert Bly (1981), which he co-edited with Kate Daniels. His own poetry appears in the anthologies Poetry 180 (2003, ed. Billy Collins) and Good Poems (2003, ed. Garrison Keillor). Jones has also produced a CD on the art of poetry, entitled Body and Soul. His website is