The Fig Tree
We walk down the path with our children.
Dust rises behind us like smoke.
The ground is littered with figs:
small purple bodies
burst open to show their red seeds.
Foreignness blooms quietly inside their wounds.
All these years I wished to be whole,
my fragmented self constantly rearranging
its pieces to suit new surroundings.
Now I find the puzzle all wrong, some pieces
not only missing but clearly irretrievable.
The picture I have in front of my eyes
tells lies. It fractures faces, contorts
limbs, splits bodies in two.
. Everything’s backwards: the sky
holds a bodiless earth on its plate; the giant fig trees
point downward like ingrown toenails.
I look at the pattern of leaves above our heads.
Solid branches crisscross this way and that, each
with its purpose – a self-contained universe
to which we cannot belong.
. Here are my leaves –
they form passageways of dense shadows,
where the light
travels unencumbered, precise
before hitting the ground and dying
. Here are my limbs –
they mold the air, they push it
toward the scattered figs on the ground,
toward these lonely people
scattered among the figs.
First published in Swimming with Elephants Publications, Weekly Write: September 1, 2019