A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
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.