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This poem is taken from PN Review 192, Volume 36 Number 4, March - April 2010.

Two Poems (editor's note: Yusef Komunyakaa was originally mispelt in PNR192 as Yusef Komunyakka) Yusef Komunyakaa

Black Figs

Because they tasted so damn good, I swore
    I’d never eat another one, but three seedy little hearts
beckoned tonight from a green leaf-shaped saucer,
   swollen with ripeness, ready to spill a gutty
sacrament on my tongue. Their skins too smooth
   to trust or believe. Shall I play Nat King Cole’s
‘Nature Boy’ or Cassandra’s ‘Death Letter’
   this gypsy hour? I have a few words to steal
back the taste of earth. I know laughter can rip
   stitches, & deeds come undone in the middle of a dance.
Socrates talked himself into raising the cup to his lips
   to toast the avenging oracle, but I told the gods no
false kisses, they could keep their ambrosia & nectar,
   & let me live my days & nights. I nibble each globe,
each succulent bud down to its broken-off stem
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