The Secret Pages: The fig tree

The fig tree

Half a mile from Bethany;
for those who know, a way point
better than any carved milestone.
Just off the top of the hill
in sight of Jerusalem.
Even on the hottest days
smoke rose thick with burning fat.
Hours before I’d seen it pass
as an unsuspecting flock.
Passover the worst or best,
the road awake at every hour,
spring nights cold, sky clear for stars,
glittering encampments sown
crocus-like across the hill.

He left his friends on the road,
and held aside leaves to look,
hoping for a small sweetness
(promise of full fruit to come)
to tease his bread-heavy tongue.
I made good leaves, parchment thick,
twice the size of a splayed hand.
But this year, despite the sun
I did not set any buds.
He gave up, rejoined his friends,
turned back to me and raised a hand.
Later, the constant smoke paused.


Mark 11: 12-14