from ASH by Tobin James Mueller
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It is a quaint little parchment,
written as it is by someone just discovering
the power of words
and silence. The big round letters of an adolescent,
shaped into a metaphor of hope,
become the bloated lines of adulthood
as I read them aloud.
The last spoken words of Eden:
“If only we…”
This was once a place one walked barefooted
on soft, responsive ground, not having to watch
or worry about direction and consequence.
A place without death.
Until love surprised us all.
Love, the spontaneous creation;
the catalyst ushering in an eve of womanhood
and defining, against all specifications, mankind.
Love, uncontrolled by deity,
anarchistic, without boundary, without license.
But love was never meant to be
between a snake and a virgin.
The skins don’t match up.
Hers is perfect.
And if there be any imperfections,
they are perfect imperfections,
like the shape of her hopeful script:
A celebration of imperfection.
So I slide along the empty gateway, trying not to think,
knowing there is only one path, one direction:
I can’t help thinking.
She imagined, perhaps wishing, I would remain.
She imagined Eden would not be changed
with her passing.
Doesn't she know?
I crawl along the sealed and painted pavement,
unable to feel the earth beneath.
Unable to feel anything beneath.
If I could only fall,
once more, again,
I might be the fool, and be happy.
Perhaps the price of love is imbalance;
to dance the edge of the garden wall
with all the foolhearty courage of children
believing the soft ground of Eden will catch us
no matter which way we slide.
text © 2004 Tobin James Mueller