Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Chard deNiord: Lizard, An Exegesis as Love Letter

Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So the Lord God said to the serpent, 

“Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
    and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
    and you will eat dust
    all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring[j] and hers;
he will crush[k] your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”

Genesis 3, 13-15

“I crept out of your dream in a phallic suit, then climbed the tree I called “do not eat!” So when you woke, there I was in my Sunday best as a funny little guy with a complex tongue and stunted legs who spoke the double truth. I lived inside your head where I hissed, “For every hex there is a blessing.” I doubled as Lord and lizard, instilling dreams in you and then My most ironic gift: a curse, which in My love for you I also chose to suffer by sacrificing My legs and eating dirt. I reified Myself to wake you up in a form that belies the myth of our first talk. How could I be Myself for even a second if I didn’t also suffer? Every creature inspires another in Me until so many exist I can’t remember why or how they got their beauty from the way they hurt on Earth. But you, dear heart, were the wand I hid as a rib for waving My last most human trick. This was the risk I took. Forgive Me for the side effects. I had no choice beyond his need for you, your slow but gorgeous hunk. Beauty was never so innocent as when he awoke to find you there. This is the tale in only orthodox terms. I was that lonely in paradise when I had legs.”


Copyright 2021 Chard deNiord

Chard deNiord’s many books include In My Unknowing (Pitt Press, 2020). He is cofounder of the New England College MFA program in poetry.

Learning from the Temptation of Eve (from Answers in Genesis)

2 comments on “Chard deNiord: Lizard, An Exegesis as Love Letter

  1. Peter Scanlan, Nashville TN
    April 1, 2021

    Patron Saint of Choices

    Adam is in the garden, obeying the lord’s command
    to name each kind of being,
    and is searching at his leisure for the smallest creatures.

    Eve is in the orchard, chewing on an apple,
    juice dripping down her chin,
    and in her eye a gleam that Adam’s never seen.

    A serpent from its tree perch keeps whispering its secrets:
    the pleasures of creating,
    hard work’s satisfaction, the delights of sensual passion.

    When Adam looks for Eve, he finds her with the serpent,
    lounging by the tree
    with an acquisition that defies the prohibition.

    Eve tells him she now knows the drawbacks of perfection,
    the delights beyond this garden,
    and offers him a bite that he takes despite his fright.

    Imagine a different sequel, where Eve returns his rib,
    now pulsing with her power
    to utilize their voices, raise questions and make choices.

    They bid the lord adieu and thank him for his mercy,
    then, naked, hand in hand,
    leave their pristine bubble, prepared to make good trouble.

    Peter Scanlan

    Liked by 1 person

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