Poetry

Poetry Sunday: “Fig,” by Amy Glynn

Fig (Ficus carica) A day or so, from decadence to decay, that’s all. Things fall where they may, the slow excruciating green wait, all at once having given way to a fleshly exuberance, a grandiose gravidity, overflows of luscious aromatics–you could die of the sheer headiness of it and say apart from a generalized unreadiness that you suppose there are worse ways to go, And oh, why not deal with it like this? Nothing held back. The limbs bent double by their own prodigiousness while the air swims around them, wasp-drone, heat-hum, root snaking, the fingered leaf in indolent abeyance, as if spent. Everyone knows gravity wins this one, so why not just kiss the ground, and not just in reverence but lasciviously, with bruises darkening your skin from all the heat of it, and no boundaries any longer–yes, dissolved, entirely subsumed, possessed, not one thing left of you. Really, what is this flesh for, if not for absolute abandon? Look at how it swells from every branch, like sweat, like easy tears, like blood from a cut. Unguarded, unresisting, a freefall to oneness, nothing in the way, no stone at the heart of it, after all, and even the flower is invisible, it blooms inside the fruit. Click here to hear “Fig” from A Modern Herbal read by Amy Glynn. (2013) First appeared in Birmingham Poetry Review. Appears in A Modern Herbal, published by Measure Press and reprinted here with permission of the press.   modern_herbal Amy Glynn is a poet, essayist, and fiction writer whose work appears widely in journals and anthologies including The Best American Poetry. She has been a James Merrill House Fellow, a Bread Loaf Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference Scholar, and a Mona van Duyn Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her first poetry collection, A Modern Herbal, was released in 2013 by Measure Press and can be ordered at Amazon.  

Poet’s Note

I’ve always been fascinated by plants’ wildly diverse survival strategies. Some protect their seeds with thorns or spines, some with poisonous alkaloids, some with tough outer casings. If you’ve ever stood under a tree full of ripe figs on a warm afternoon, you’ll know that this is a tree with a different model entirely. Figs are the carpe diem fruit–they throw themselves at you. Hyper-productive, deeply sexual, and incredibly perishable, they must be consumed quickly and prolifically because they’ll be gone in a few hours to a couple of days. There is some kind of a message in that, isn’t there? We are all destined for the dirt; maybe not everything has to defend itself to survive. Maybe what is valuable need not always be secured, tucked away. For some, vulnerability, pliancy, willingness to just go for it are master skills. Those who cultivate that might be those who truly attain that ecstatic release from the self. It’s probably no accident that the tree under which Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment was a fig.

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  • Molly Fisk November 28, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    This is so wonderful — read it alongside AE Stallings “Olives” before dinner and that is a double grace.

    Reply
  • Molly Fisk November 28, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    This is so wonderful — read it alongside AE Stallings “Olives” before dinner and that is a double grace.

    Reply
  • Judy Anderson November 27, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    A luscious poem. I read it hungrily, like I might bite into the fig, then swoon with the depth and texture of it. Delicious. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Judy Anderson November 27, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    A luscious poem. I read it hungrily, like I might bite into the fig, then swoon with the depth and texture of it. Delicious. Thank you.

    Reply