The Call at Night When I Was Dreaming of Figs

by Ira Sukrungruang

And they were sweet, their seeds popping in my mouth,
tiny Vesuvian eruptions, and I ate them until one was left
in a Etruscan bowl of sex positions, and it rolled around
and around, in orbit of an empty center, until I lifted
it to my lips—oh tear-drop fruit!—bared my teeth,
pierced skin and flesh—

And then I was awake, above me
the haggard face of my wife, who in this light, was half-Venus,
half-Medusa, which wasn’t fair. She’s fallen, she said.
Fallen angels, Lucifer, light bringer,
and his descent into darkness and that mythical
world of heat.

And we found her mother collapsed
and curled on the floor, fetal, her waking
hours an unending dream, illness devouring her
insides. How I wished
I could take her to those figs, miracle fruit, free
her from this bed that barely contained her.
I hoisted her in my arms, heard her voice, syphoned
as if from another land, telling me how sweet
it was going to be there, when she was finally done

Ira Sukrungruang is the author of the memoir Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy and the poetry collection In Thailand It Is Night. His work has appeared in many literary journals, including Post Road, The Sun, and Creative Nonfiction. He teaches in the MFA program at University of South Florida and the low-residency MFA program at City University in Hong Kong. For more information about him, please visit: