Natasha Trethewey


For Sugar

Through tall grass, heavy
from rain, my aunt and I wade
into cool fruit trees.

Near us, dragonflies
light on the clothesline, each touch
rippling to the next.

Green-black beetles swarm
the fruit, wings droning motion,
wet figs glistening.

We sigh, click our tongues,
our fingers reaching in, then
plucking what is left.

Underripe figs, green,
hard as jewels—these we save,
hold in deep white bowls.

She puts them to light
on the windowsill, tells me
to wait, learn patience.

I touch them each day, 
watch them turn gold, grow sweet,
and give sweetness back.

I begin to see
our lives are like this—we take
what we need of light.

We glisten, preserve
handpicked days in memory,
our minds’ dark pantry.