I just want you to know
that the Old Man set me up,
and I’ll admit that, cagey as I am,
I never saw it coming.
I mean I knew he was capable
of anything, but he always adopted
this holier than thou persona so why
would I imagine He’d do this?
And it wasn’t like He clued
me in on it, how was I to know
that one was somehow different,
and weren’t they the smart ones?
So I take the fall, and you can bet it
will be an eternity of distrust, if not fear
or hatred, and I have to say, the damned
apple wasn’t all that tasty anyway.
We should stop blaming the snake. First, do we really want to admit the reptile was that much smarter than we were? More importantly, how long could we have survived wearing the leaves, if anything at all, and eating fruits and vegetables? Okay, I grant you that is all I eat, but by choice and after considerable thought. And, by the way, never tell a Jewish male he can’t eat something. We all know full well that even shrimp and pork are kosher in a Chinese restaurant. At least on Friday night.
His is six and deeply confused,
and asks questions to end that state.
He wants to know if Adam and Eve
had two sons, and one killed the other,
where did all of the people come from?
Ask your father seems and easy answer,
but one he cannot accept, too easy
for a mind that needs timely response.
I stumble around, try to deflect,
and finally admit I don’t know but
that some stories cannot be taken literally.
He knows what that word means, and it
is a sufficient explanation for now.
In a week we’ll have the conversation
once again, this time not Adam, not Eve,
but Shem, Ham and Japheth, and how
the three sons of Noah repopulated
the entire planet, and I will once again
admit to my sad lack of knowledge,
and silently curse the Religious School
for creating the abyss into which
my grandson is all to pleased to lead me.
Cats have more in common
with snakes that we care to recognize.
She said this with a straight face.
He wanted to laugh at her, but dared not.
She didn’t take laughter kindly
when she thought it was directed at her.
He calmly asked her to explain.
It’s simple, she said, with feigned
patience, both can slither around,
are expert at hiding when they wish,
and as you have now so clearly demonstrated,
much as Adam did, both of you the hard way,
both snakes and cats are smarter
by far than your average male human.
A commentary on a holy book
cannot hear one another.
Perhaps their deafness goes
beyond family and species.
It would do much
to explain God’s rejection
of Eve’s proffered excuse
that despite her protestations
and those of Adam
the snake would not
take no for an answer –
a deaf snake, after all
having spoken, has little
to do but move along
to the next monologue.
Adam’s Rib was not,
she said, a barbecue joint
on Beale Street
in downtown Memphis,
nor a beloved Spencer Tracy
movie in which sidelong
glances with Kate Hepburn
meant more than audiences realized.
It most certainly was not
proof of the claim that woman,
born of man, was meant to be
subservient for all time
to the male of any species.
No, she said, Adam’s Rib
was merely God’s attempt
to get it right
the second time around.
Standing in the garden
soaking in the sudden downpour
Eve turned to Adam and said,
“Did you bring the umbrella?”
“What’s an umbrella?” Adam asked.
“I’m eating the apple” Eve replied.
What is on the other side
of this wall that is just
too tall to peer over?
No one seems to know,
though many have surmised
it is a completely different world
looking little or nothing
like the one we inhabit.
Last week a young man
picked up a ginkgo leaf
and said “ahah, it is Japan
across that wall,” but we
mostly thought he was crazy.
Once, when the world was flat,
people knew if you sailed
too far you would fall off.
But the brave ones then
always wondered what sort
of world existed on the other side,
was it desert or tropical jungle
and when it was night here
was it day there or did the sun
simply sleep for ten hours?
This morning a young man
leaned a tall latter
against the wall and slowly
and carefully slipped over the top.
We shouted after him, asking
what it was like: did rainbows
look the same, was grass green,
but all we heard was his
retreating footfalls, and
his plaintive voice shouting:
“Eve, are you here?
I have the apple.”
He says, “You know it is long
past time to stop blaming the poor snake,
it wasn’t his fault and when you stop
and think about it, he told no lies.
And what makes you think that he
had any idea of the consequences
of the offer. will you admit snakes
are as sentient as we are?”
She says, “I don’t disagree with you,
the snake should never have been blamed,
the real blame goes to the apple.
It was the source of all of the trouble.
But was it cursed and abused through history?
No, quite the contrary, it was honored,
recommended to avoid illness.
He says, “But blaming the apple
is silly, it’s a piece of fruit,
nothing more, and was just present.”
She says, “We both know you’d
like to blame Eve, it is the woman
you think was the cause of eviction.
But you dare not say it, for
with me present, you know
I would point out that such would be
an admission that women are,
after all, smarter than men.
Now, please, go eat your apple.”