The Fig Tree

A damp wind blew along the Bethany
road through the grove. I huddled among
the other trees, neither the spindliest
nor the hardiest, my branches criss-
crossing, tangled with the others, my leaves’
sharp frond shape dully green,
my bark marked with tumors. Still low
in the sky, the sun was barely ruddy as he
and the twelve passed by taking no notice
of us until he turned to one and declared
he hungered out of season after figs
and demanded of me some fruit to eat
who had no figs to offer. Whereupon,
out of all reason he raged like a thwarted

lover and cursed me for my fruitlessness
that had left his hunger deep, unsatisfied.
Before sunrise the next day, I withered
away, unlike the tree far less innocent
than me he never cursed. Make of me
an image in your poem, a symbol
in your sermon. Write an edifying allegory
of me as type of all who deny their Lord.
None of it matters a fig, as they say,
to me anymore who am nowhere to be found,
neither dust in the air nor dust in the ground
along the route he took from Bethany
to Jerusalem, working his famous miracles,
        just or not.

number 22 in the 2River Chapbook Series