Hunger

It was midsummer, with the figs starting to come in.
Mornings, she'd go out and walk beneath the laden
branches, a plastic bowl in one hand. It took a few
moments to adjust to the latticed light, the
overlapping shadows that the broad leaves made.
Then she could make out the deep purple globes,
how they looked like light bulbs; how when ripest,
all it took was a simple twist and they'd fall
into her hand, releasing a drop of milky sap.
Returning in the afternoon, it seemed the fruit
only half-ripe earlier in the day had become ready:
soft to the touch, nearly flayed open to bursting.
Some, already shrines to the steady pilgrimage
of ants. Green to purple, hard-shuttered to
permeable. And still they did not cease.
Rilke said: “A world will come over you, the
happiness, the abundance, the incomprehensible
immensity of a world." But how to give such a world
to those reduced to begging for it in the streets?
One could tuck a whole fig in one's cheek and steal
out of the garden. Green, purple, flesh that the
knife scores and quarters. Hunger that asks again
and again to be filled. Pulled from the branch,
another bursts forth to take its place.

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