By Jennifer Tonge b. 1965 Jennifer Tonge
         Come here’s
a peach he said
         and held it out just far
enough to reach beyond his lap
         and off-

         ered me
a room the one
         room left he said in all
of Thessaloniki that night
         packed with

The peach was lush
         I hadn’t slept for days
it was like velvet lips a lamp
         he smiled

the bed for me
         I knew it was in fact
the only room the only bed
         The peach

and he said Come
         nodding to make me
agree I wanted the peach and
         the bed

         he said
to take it see
         how nice it was and I
thought how I could take it ginger-
         ly my

tips only touch-
         ing only it Not in
or out I stayed in the doorway

         a fly
He stroked the peach
         and asked where I was from
I said the States he smiled and asked
         how long

         I’d stay
The fly had found
         the peach I said I’d leave
for Turkey in the morning I

         so much
to sleep and on
         a bed I thought of all
the ways to say that word
         and that

         they must
have gradient
         meanings He asked me did
I want the peach and I said sure
         and took

         it from
his hand He asked
         then if I’d take the room
It costs too much I said and turned
         to go

         He said
to stay a while
         and we could talk The sun
was going down I said no thanks
         I’d head

         out on
the late train but
         could I still have the peach
and what else could he say to that
         but yes

Jennifer Tonge, “Peach” from Poetry (February 1999). Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: Poetry (February 1999).


This poem originally appeared in the February 1999 issue of Poetry magazine

View this poem in its original format

February 1999
 Jennifer  Tonge


Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Jennifer Tonge received an MFA from the University of Utah. Tonge’s poetry has been anthologized in Rising Phoenix (2004) and Ravishing DisUnities: Real Ghazals in English (2000). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Quarterly West, Poetry, Ploughshares, New England Review, and Bellingham Review.
The recipient of fellowships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Jennifer Tonge

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Travels & Journeys

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.