Ripe Figs, Mustard Greens, and Dance

Prose by Joni Caggiano 02/02/21 – Photograph of Beautiful Fig Tree by Daniel Watson


lamenting for a taste of fresh figs from childhood trees where, when dipped in sugar,
they left a fragrant and honeyed flavor upon a young girl’s tongue

seeing elephant ears surrounding the outdoor porch where mom would set a table

smelling black-eyed peas cooked with salt pork, mustard greens, and collards

fried hush puppies with onions and garlic, decorating the table with fresh wildflowers

mom wiping her hands on her ruffled apron smiling as she observed her beloved family

crickets singing from outside the house and inside
where mama placed potatoes for the nightly songbirds of the south, as it helped her sleep for dreams haunted her too

fireflies dancing for our dinner’s entertainment as we ate till our bellies were full

as the ice was dropping more often in mom and dad’s glasses, I would begin to dance

sultry music in my head, my arms, and legs expressing emotions with unknown names and repeated circles

placing myself somewhere else before the night would go wrong

flying into my teenage years, or more like middle age, I sought the refuge of a locked door where none existed

mom and dad did their very best; sadly, they both killed themselves to be at rest


66 thoughts on “Ripe Figs, Mustard Greens, and Dance

    1. Thank you Cassa. It was a fun evening as a teenager. My parents were both suicides. I miss my mom especially some days. Their alcoholism was a disease and they both had horrible lives growing up themselves. They were not able to break the cycle of abuse but in their defense there wasn’t a lot of help back then. Thank goodness that isn’t true anymore. Love ya 💕🤗❤️😘 my mom was an amazing cook!!

      1. Oh thank you Cassa you are so kind. I love and miss my parents and I will see them again some day. You have an amazing day and be safe kind friend. Love ❤️ Joni

      2. It warms my heart how forgiving you are to set yourself free & to remember a few cherished good memories. Sending love to you, from me & my magical Joni fairies you gifted me.

      3. Oh hello my dearest friend. Thank you again for being a featured photographer on my site. So many people have enjoyed your beautiful work. Thank you Janette for your kind words. I am blessed as you know dear friend. I am glad the fairies are with you and helping you. They love you and I know they have enjoyed you spoiling them with shopping on line, baking fresh scones, facials and buying them their jewelry making tools. Make sure they do their chores and that they don’t forget to brush their teeth. Sending you love dear Janette. I miss and love you very much. 😘💕🤗❤️ J

  1. I am so sad that your happy memories were overshadowed by ones that do not give you rest. I too have many happy memories as do most of us, and some that overshadow them that I try to let lie in the back of my mind in hopes the happy ones will push them into silence. I read your post three times, couldn’t stop. It was beautiful. Sending you love and hugs.

    1. Oh I am very sorry to hear you have sad memories as well. We all have our sorrows but some days I do miss my mom, they both died before I was thirty. I do have some good memories with them. My mom was an amazing cook. You have a great day and bring all those good memories forward. I am sending some fairies your way with gifts of new memories woven into silken cocoons by my beautiful silk worms. Every time you want a beautiful memory open one up and close your eyes and you will be lovingly supported their. Sending my love and thank you for your always kind words. Love ya 🤗❤️💕Joni 🧚🏻🧚‍♀️🧚🏻🧚🏻

    2. Hello my time traveling friend. I don’t know what I did I read your comment about the fairies and I saw a yellow strip that said undue and it disappeared. I don’t have any idea what happened. Anyway thank you for letting me know they arrived and glad you got your gifts. You know a lot of people are cooking more and trying new things. It is kind of fun and since we are stuck more inside, why not. I hope you have a beautiful day full of love, inspiration and blessings dear friend. Love you Joni 💕🤗❤️😘

    3. Joni, this tore at my heartstrings! I am so sorry for the loss of your Mom and Dad. Such a beautiful Southern evening I was picturing; I could see those black eyed peas and smell those mustard greens. Then, the ending. 💔 I am thankful you have memories like the ones at the beginning of this work, to reflect back on. Sending you much love.

    1. Thank you dear Navin. Sometimes I really miss them. They both were gone before I was thirty. Thank you for reading my dear friend. Hope life is going good for you. I am sending lots of love and the smell of wildflowers to fill your home. Love, hugs, and blessings always coming your way. 💕🤗❤️💕🤗😘 Joni

      1. You’re welcome, dear Joni….I can imagine how it must feel like when you miss parents….thank you for your kind wishes…have a wonderful & peaceful day filled with light ✨

      2. Thank you Navin. I appreciate you and your wonderfully kind wishes back. Also thank you for reading me. Sending love and sunshine your way as it is very sunny here in North Carolina today. 💕🤗❤️🌸🌺love Joni

      3. 🤗❤️💕 that is too cold for me Navin, sending you wood for a warm fire and lots is soft blankets. Have a blessed weekend my friend. 💕❤️🤗

    1. Thanks dear Brad. I hope you are still feeling great and healthy my friend. I always appreciate your support and kindness Brad. I am doing more rhyming poetry these days. I tend to speak in rhymes when I don’t try to. Do you ever find yourself doing that? Sending a few treasures of the heart for inspiration for some new romantic poetry. Love ya Brad. 🤗❤️💕😘Jonikins

      1. Oh that is so funny Brad. Thank you for sharing that as I don’t feel so funny about it. Hehe. This makes me have a big smile, thanks Brad. Sending you lots of love. 💕🤗❤️Jonikins

    1. Thank you for your kindness again John. I hope you are being careful and staying safe. Hopefully this will not be an issue for much longer as the vaccines become more readily available. Love ya my friend. Sending special hugs. 💕🤗❤️🌺🌸

    1. I sure miss them both. I wasn’t even 30
      when they were both gone. Sending lots of hugs my sweet friend. Thank you for reading. Love you, stay safe and have a great weekend. 💕❤️🤗

  2. Joni, this so tore at my heartstrings! I’m picturing such a beautiful family table in the sultry summer. I could see those black eyed peas and smell those mustard greens. Then the ending just jolts the reader, so heart rending. I’m so sorry for the loss of your Mom and Dad 💔 I’m glad you have memories like the ones at beginning of this work to reflect on. ❤️

    1. Thank you my dear friend Jill. I appreciate your kindness, love and support. I also appreciate your continuing to like my work when that button only works about half the time. Thank you for your thoughtful words. This was a memory that I had when visiting. The last time us girls were together before the first suicide and two years later the next. I do thank about good times and I know they tried. Bless their hearts they were both just very sick. I love you Jill. 💕🤗❤️😘

  3. A poem of great contrasts, Joni. The scene is so wonderfully set with flavours, scents, and sights to bring enjoyment. And then the threat comes, seemingly out of the blue, and your sadness screams the loss. Brilliant!

    1. Thank you Stuart my friend. I am quite touched by your words. Thank you very much. I appreciate your reading my poetry very much. Hope you are both well. I am sending my love and hugs. 💕🤗🤗❤️Joni

      1. Loss is so hard to deal with. My thoughts are with you as you go through the experience again, Joni. Stay strong and remember the good times as you help Scott through this.

      2. I will thank you Stuart I really appreciate it. His parents were married sixty years and I can’t imagine what his father is going through. Thank you again for you support my friend. Love ❤️ Joni

  4. Such wonderful thoughts and beautiful memories, but ended with such tragic moments; an unexpected ending.
    This one is touching, Joni. You’re very strong.
    Love to you. ❤

    1. Hello my friend, it is nice to hear from you. Thank you for your gracious words. Yes that was a difficult time, especially losing my mom after my father’s suicide, I could have never been prepared for that, everyone needs their mom. Both of them had been completely sober for two years prior to their deaths. We all have our troubles, sad times and challenges. I was completely hysterical when I lost my mom, I had just talked with her and we had a great talk, she missed my dad but sounded good. Two days later she took an overdose in her vehicle and was dead once she was found and taken to the hospital. They are together now and I will see them again. I still miss my mom so much. Thank you as always for reading I really appreciate your kind support. Sending love and hugs to you too, Joni

      1. Thank you so very much. Your well wishes and blessings mean a lot. I am a truly blessed person and I am so grateful. Hope you have a blessed day too. Sending love to you and your loved ones. 🤗❤️💕😘

  5. What a tragic and surprising ending, real life is not always the happy ending. After all, we all have our choices and make our decisions, dealing with the consequences…
    I always would choose precious life over death, saying so, I know I live a blessed life. We should not judge others…
    Joni, you are such a sweet heart and your words are always touching and full of life. You do have a gift and I’m happy to have met you out here. My best wishes are with you. Yours, Sovely

    1. Sovely how kind of you to comment. I appreciate your support so much. You are so right real life is not always pretty and I do have some good memories which I am grateful for as well. I am also blessed to know you dear friend. I am sending you lots of love and gratitude for your friendship. 💕🤗❤️Joni

  6. I found this very moving, as are many of your poems, Joni. We taste both the tender childhood you imagined for yourself, and the abusive childhood you actually experienced. One is sweet, the other terribly sad. That you retain no bitterness is amazing. Thank you for sharing your past w/ readers. We are the richer for it, dear friend. With love, A. <3 <3 <3

    1. Thank you sweet Anna. It is so nice of you to read my work, I know you have so much going on. Thank you for your kindness, you are all in my prayers Anna. I am sending you bucket of love, hugs and blessings my dearest Anna. I love you, Joni xoxoxo

  7. So beautiful, so sad. It’s amazing how you meld so many emotions into just a few sentences, so beautifully done, Joni! You are a great inspiration to me, after everything you have been through, you stay positive and strong. Love and light to you my friend! 🥰💕🤗

    1. Oh thank you my sweet friend. Your comment is incredibly kind. Thank you Tiffany. I am glad I
      Inspire you as that is a blessing to hear. I find your work inspiring too. I am an extremely blessed woman and I am truly grateful for that. I am sending love and light right back at you. 💕🤗❤️😘🤗

  8. You write beautifully. I am sure it also open up wounds but I can see that you find comfort and healing in writing and expressing yourself. Much love <3

    1. Oh thank you so much sweet friend. Yes, you are right I find solace in writing about my past and hopefully helping others that may be young in my same situation. Thank you so much for your love and support. 💕🤗❤️😘 Joni

  9. Poignant memories, at once happy and sad. I could almost see the fireflies flitting around, just as they did when we used to eat and play outside on warm summer nights. May the memories bring you comfort Joni. Stay well. Allan

  10. My dearest honeybun, what a magical piece. The finale is breathtaking. The combination of childhood with that of death is very powerful. It almost creates a sense of danger.
    Sending you love and blessings.
    G( button)

    1. Thank you beautiful Button. I am so glad you liked it and I agree it is and was a very sad part of my youth. My parents died two years apart. They both left this world by their own hands and that was hard and very unexpected for each. My mom was sober for two years before she passed away. I miss our Saturday coffee dates over the phone. I am strong like the root of the fig tree as God made me so. There are good memories too. I find solace in knowing that my mother and father had faith but were both sick from the abuse they suffered as children. My mom encouraged my writing and bought me poetry books. My mom called me Josie Karen and her name was Esther. I miss her especially.
      Thank you for taking time to read my work when I know you are so busy. It really means so much. This post does not require a response as I already know you love me as I do you. Have a day filled with inspiration and blessings.
      Love ❤️ Honeybun

  11. 😮

    This just took my breath away

    It was so captivating.

    It was like you… I don’t even have the words.

    This is really really good, my word!

    I just want to go back and read it again, that’s all I have left to say. And the photography of the tree, my oh my. I am a sucker for a good photo of nature or anything related 💛

    1. Well you have certainly made my day with such kind words about my writing. I so appreciate your reading me and sending such an intense response. It really has touched my heart.

      Thanks for sharing your reaction. When I write I hope that I am touching and reaching others. It means so much when I succeed in doing so.

      May you have an amazing day today my new friend. Sending blessings, love and fairies bringing chocolate hearts filled with fairy dust. When you eat one you will be able to
      fly for exactly twenty minutes. Love ❤️ Joni 💕🤗❤️🧚‍♀️🧚🏻🧚‍♀️🧚🏻

      1. I am so very happy to know that I’ve made your day, you’re very welcome.

        Thank you for the chocolate hearts being brought to me by the fairies, at this point I would accept virtual chocolates, magical ones, whatever kind of chocolate because I am craving them so much.

        This was such lovely response, thank you for taking the time out to type back to me.

        I wish you an amazing day too, and you are now a very special new friend of mine. I’m sending you peace, motivation and endless inspiration ❤️🌸🌷🌺💐

      2. Oh what sweet gifts back my friend. I am glad you are looking forward to the chocolates and they should appear any minute. They sound a lot like a hummingbird. I am so glad I Am a special friend what a blessing for me. Thank you friend. 😘💕🤗❤️ love to you and your loved ones. Joni

    1. It is sad my friend stories are not always pretty. This was how there story ended. Sad for me to lose both my parents like this before I was even thirty. I miss them but I will see them again and all their pain will be gone. Love you Joni. I appreciate you reading me very much.

  12. What a multi-layered gift this one is. I was smiling and even giggling at the beginning as I can relate to all of that….and as the transition began was dancing with You….as I can relate to that on many levels as well. Such a journey. Just amazing. I Love You, sweet Joni and so appreciate Your beautiful poetry!!! I’m going to let these resonate and then will be back to read all else I’ve missed. I’m full up to the top but it’s brilliant! Sending huge hugs Y’alls way!!! And dragon fairy keeses! ❤️❤️❤️!

    1. You have caught up with with me my sweet friend. You spread that sweet love of yours around Kind-Katy. Sending extra love and hugs. Thank you again so much for reading and your very thoughtful comments. 💕🤗❤️🥰🐉🐉🧚‍♀️🧚‍♀️😘😘😘

      1. I will! Little slow train that I am….but I WANT to read the ones I missed! No sacrifice of time or obigation here!!! Sending You HUGE hugs!!! 🤗🤗🤗🧚🏽💖🐉😊😊😊

Leave a Reply