Your fig tree in January, denuded now
is more stately, if possible, in its stark seasonal
solemnity than in summer's exacting extravagance.
Its trunk, massive in manhood, is a citadel, supporting
the curving bowl of branches as they bend back
into themselves, becoming the bare, black sculpture
Hemingway described in Paris in the 'Jardin
de Luxembourg,' where following in his footsteps,
we once strolled among old men playing
chess, lovers entwined on park benches,
fat city pigeons seeking sustenance.
These prayerful branches, grown as large as
the beanstalk giant of storybook lore, cup the sky--
and two gigantic roots, visible above ground
in winter definition, should they be feet, would
rock our foundations. Sprawling out in different
directions, siblings still, they disappear below earth
to wherever they travel--who knows where?
Unlike Jack on his leafy ladder, climbing sky-
ward, they turned toward some
southern provenance: Provence, perhaps,
as if impassioned for home.