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The Fig Tree


The fig tree that died
back to its roots in last winter's sub-zero
has risen this summer to six feet.
Behind its lobed leaves
six small, green figs.
Each morning I go out with my tea
trying to rush them into ripeness
before cold winds whisper across the field.
Beyond the usual care, it's a matter of weather
now: a long, moderate fall and maybe
here, in a far outlying province of History,
I'll taste the fruit of the tree
that clothed Adam and Eve,
that fed the Romans and fattened their geese,
that heard the withering curse of Christ,
hungry for some sweetness,
as he returned to seething Jerusalem.


Paul Martin

Southern Poetry Review

Issue 55, Number 1


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