Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Cutting Back the Fig

One comment

Wrath-singed, my father's teeth set
to say what he would say
with brash, crackling faith

 

if he could just remember it:
like a creed,
a cradle song,
lulling death

 

as he remembers:
the breezeless evening steps, the fig overhanging, its leaves
growing into the path to slap him
with their light, sticky hairs

 

until he cuts them:
the strewn branches full of fruit tinged with ripening
and then she approaches, seeing
his arms still lifting the nippers

 

and he watches:
how she turned, back straight beneath
her two gray braids wound into knots
low at the nape behind her ears

 

the seething flees his muscles, the weak snap
of the final branch sickens,
and he says nothing, waving away
memory's brittle lick on the neck,
brushing aside the weightless slap
of what's forty years gone.


Carol Denson’s chapbook of poems, Across the Antique Surface, is available from Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared in Earth’s Daughters, Gulf Coast, and J Journal, and others. Her essay on poetry and parenting was published in Rattle.


More from



A poem should be clad in imagery and at the same time speak to the emotions. Carol Denson's poem "Cutting Back the Fig" does both. It is a well crafted and engaging poem and I have repeated some phrases today in my head...breezeless evening steps...the seething flees from his muscles...memory's brittle lick on the neck... beautiful!!!
Comments are now closed for this piece.