The Fig


Here’s a recording of me reading from my 2013 poetry collection, Flesh Becomes Word, published by Dos Madres Press.

The accompanying image is shared here courtesy of John Volck, who happens to be my brother and a visual artist of breathtaking ability.

The Fig

My lover fills all things with love’s perfume,
but I, distracted, lose the scent in names:
words without sense, vacant experience.

This flower becomes no more than white rose,
the desert: wasteland, myself: labyrinth.
On the table sits a plate of dried fruit;

I reach for it and hold in my right hand
a fig: dull flesh, sad as a withered breast.
Had no one shown me, told me: Take and eat,

I should never have tasted its sweetness.
Between my fingers I split the fig’s skin
and find in it a galaxy of seeds

glistening, as if wet, in the sunlight.
The torn skin is delicately petalled
like the tender gate to my lover’s womb.