what you told me about the fig tree

in Verse

first the story:
mark and the others chanced upon the tree,
but it did not bear fruit.
so the disciples went hungry,
and jesus cursed the tree,
and the fig tree withered and died.

second:
you are the impotent tree,
the circumstances the winter,
and i am mark,
who will not be fed.
you tell me at some point you will bear fruit
but just not now.
the time is not right,
and the shape of our surroundings is not right,
and your mind is not in the right place,
only i’ve heard this all before.

third:
i am the fig tree
that wants to bear fruit for the hungry disciples,
circumstance reprises its role as winter,
and you are jesus,
withering me down for something i cannot help or control.
and now i am punished and will never bear fruit again
even when winter is gone.

does it make you feel better
to turn abandonment into a parable?
because you have not called once.
you said you hope beyond what hope permits
that we will bear fruit again,
but you have not called, once.
so tell me now what i am:
jesus, mark, or the tree,
or something else in the story,
another disciple, an unmentioned bird,
the ungiving earth, a shadow at the side?

— Rachel Koh is a junior in Silliman College.

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