To analyze our hurt
Is to analyze what makes us weak
To parse out meaning from a fig
Soft skin, torn freshly from its pulp,
Revealing something sweet
And bare.

And yet,
This fruit,
This soul with seeds
Which gives its flesh as holy gift,
When opened, looks for warm embrace
Where bees and birds would peck and prod-

They steal a love which,
freely given,
Asked only for a heart,
Well shriven,
That plead a humble truth’s confession
From mouths
Reciting Passion’s creeds.

How often when we taste a fig,
We eloquently praise its fruit,
so freely bought by plucking hands,
who taste its heart first gently picked,
now ripped from stems, the soul’s frail sticks.


I pick each year from a once fair tree
Of figs, now mixed with many vines,
Where sumac, suckle, ivy climb
On limbs too tender to reject embrace.

In bleeding drops from a tender face
Blooms a nobler compassion than I
Dare to trace—seeds of trust
Amidst vines and weeds,
Craving from leeches,
Honeyed suckles, bared teeth
The innocent Adam for whom it was made.


Sweet fig, here shattered
Your pulp in thick hands,
Though Eden has fallen,
The landlord remains,
Like you, always giving
His heart for weak men.

Forgive, and forget
Saintly fruit, for in dying,
The pulp that you give
Saves the mouths that do eat—

For in sweet flesh
You will leave behind seeds;
Glory be, sweet vermeil skin.
For in you He is pleased.

Kathleen Hines