My father died and
I went down to pick his figs
Thinking to make a simple jam sweet
enough to absorb grief
Inside the humming tree – mid August
and hot enough to make snakes mad
I held a dancing
communion with yellow-jackets,
red wasps, midge flies,
bumble-bees, hornets, cow-killers;
working around the tree with
nimble, trembling fingers.
Did you know the great Bodhi tree was a fig?
That fig-milk dissolves warts?
That one can pray inside the circle of
a father’s ancient anger and
not be stung?