He Brings Me Figs by Margaret Dornaus

He Brings Me Figs

He’s worried I don’t like them, though
I’ve told him that I did. The truth is
I haven’t had the nerve to try them
yet . . . But when he handed me his
preserves, it seemed more than a little
unkind not to take them. I suppose
I could have told him I was just
waiting for the right moment. For
that special occasion when I’d break
the jar’s seal wide open to ladle fig
after fig free of the sweet syrupy
tidal wave of sugar contained within
a small aquarium of riches, spoon
them over plain vanilla ice cream
I’ll serve guests I’m not expecting.
So when he asks again whether
I enjoyed the fruits of his labor,
I answer, Yes. I’d forgotten
what it’s like to hold a universe
of hope in my hands. To let a heady
bouquet of summer flowers ripen
without worrying what may or
may not pass. To be free
from all but the sure, exquisite
knowledge that even small
gifts require savoring.


Margaret Dornaus holds an MFA in the translation of poetry from the University of Arkansas. A semifinalist in Naugatuck River Review’s 13th annual Narrative Poetry Contest, she had the privilege of editing and publishing a pandemic-themed anthology—behind the mask: haiku in the time of Covid-19—through her small literary press Singing Moon in 2020. Her first book of poetry, Prayer for the Dead: Collected Haibun & Tanka Prose, won a 2017 Merit Book Award from the Haiku Society of America. Recent poems appear or are forthcoming in I-70 Review, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Minyan Magazine, MockingHeart Review, ONE ART, Silver Birch Press, and The Ekphrastic Review.

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