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You're Adam. She's Eve.
You fuck up: cannot conceive
Yahweh's anger. Cast east,
weep, nightly thieve then grieve
the apple back upon the bough
law proffers but does not allow.
Stand. Raise your eyes and taste
forbidden fruit, the crimson-streaked
flesh, blood, Christ-laced
salvation swallowed with the bait,
Lucifer's candescent hate.
The dove, the dove is razor-beaked.
The rosy dawn descends from her.
You're the whited sepulchre.
A waxworks sweetness rots the hives.
Hang for a sheep, hang for a goat—
How many bellies? Two newborns.
Love irrupts into your lives
—How many bellies? Thistles and thorns.
Tiller, shepherd, two sons set
the darkness thrumming. Whetstones, knives.
Gardener, gardener, learn your craft:
rootstock, scion, scalpel, graft
the redbud on the Jesse tree,
a Galilean ministry.
No force of nature now can stanch
the petals streaming from the branch.
From Flame in a Stable by Martin Edmunds (Arrowsmith, 2021). Included in Vox Populi with permission.
Martin Edmunds’ poems have appeared in Agni, The New Yorker, The Paris Review and The Nation. Flame in a Stable is his second full-length poetry collection.