Jim Whiteside – Figs

Jim Whiteside

I held the fruit the way I might have held
a feather, turning it to view each side.
I loved the story of the fig wasp,

Agaonidae, how in each fig’s center
was a wingless and silent creature, disintegrated,
eaten. Led by food to become food. This was

when I still felt whole ownership
of myself, before any part of me was undone.
Before I sat in rooms I could only define

by those who’d left them—flightless and rended.
When I eat a fig, it leaves my throat scratchy
and swollen. The body, whether suddenly

or over time, can develop such an aversion,
held in the place where old and new pain meet.