Featured Poem: Pop’s Figs 

By Martha Steger


As early-morning patricians we have only

to go a few steps beyond the back porch –

ah, the Romans’ porticus –

to pluck drooping red-brown Brahmin fruit

from branches bending with fruit maturity.

Without a step back to hose stickiness

from birds and bees and dirty dew

clinging to their roundness, we plop the

whole fruits into our jaws as syrupy juice

oozes from the peculiar, pink, raspy insides,

and we lick our fingers of drips sneaking from

the corners of our lips while Pop says

they’re late this year because of the early

spring cold spell or not enough sun –-

or too much sun and drought — or growing

from new shoots after winter’s dieback.


Stealing as many as we can before Mama

picks and dumps the darker ones into the

chipped porcelain basin propped on top

of her calico apron covering the front of her hip

for the preserves and jam to come —

or before Aunt Constance wraps them in bacon

for her gourmet hors d’oeuvres or puts them

into her fabulous fig cake – we wonder if the fruits

feel the well-intentioned women’s race to wash

and cook them has robbed Nature of the joy

of being consumed in their raw state by

nine-to-ninety-year-old patricians who

need not recline to realize their royalty.

One comment

  1. Brenda Layman says:

    Lovely! The sticky-sweet, raspiness of the raw fruit, the family connections, the traditions, the feel of the place – wealth and privilege, indeed! Thanks for sharing!

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