Sally Van Doren-
He never said I’d have to leave my husband and children.
He didn’t say I wouldn’t see my mother again.
He said, quit your job and work with me.
He said we could live for free with his parents.
He never said I’d have to convert.
I was somebody before he discovered me.
I was more than one man’s woman.
I was more than a rib.
I was the woman who spoke snake.
I learned fast to bite, to slither.
I woke up tired in a world I’d already known and never missed.
I am not a flower. I who am Eve
redress the manifold infrastructure
thrust upon me. I who am Eve encircle
the sublime dilemma. At his behest,
I said yes. I enunciate depression. I am
the compass of excess. I say yes again.
Yes. Yes. I hunger and I thirst.
In the colossal vestibule of my mouth,
I caress this chunk of acidic flesh,
this propinquant mess, this szygial
test. I confess. Our cesspool
swells past my unplumbed petals.
Pluck me. Weed me. End this session.
Beget me a child. I’m fatal.
Eve: Tuesday: Adam
This is like, paradise, yes? And you,
you’re a god, right? When I was
in you I had no name and now that
you’re in me I feel like I will never
die. Define me again please. Eve means
fusion and release. I like this prison
here on top of you. Trap me as much as
you can, make a meal of every body part
you label. I’m new, remember? You
can invent me, impress me, digest me,
put me to sleep. I need you. I’m a fool.
I need you. I can feed you too.
Here, take a bite of this. I’ll bite your
lips. We name this taste together.
There was someone who came
Between us. He kissed me and I
Kissed him back. At first I thought
He was another version of you. He
Said it would be better for us if I made
My own decisions. I’m glad I got to know
Him. He taught me what temptation
Is. He taught me how to feel guilt.
He taught me how to lose everything.
I am his best student.
You were asleep but I lay down
next to you and I woke you up
saying Here I am. It was night and
you were drowsy and warm. I did
not know you. Your smell drew me
in. I acquainted myself with your
body’s heat. I found you under me,
behind me, over me, hard, muscled,
pliant. I learned for the first time
what sex means. We taught each
other to turn and return to the source
of our desire. We were good,
there, in the dark in the middle
of paradise. I carry your slumber
here, inside me, where I protect it
from the hell of morning.
I wished I stayed single, or taken the tiger’s offer — my kids would have stripes.
Ms. Eve respectfully declines your kind invitation for dinner on Saturday, the first of Time, in Paradise.
The devil refinanced his mortgage with the proceeds from the deal.
Tropical climates harbor intolerable allergens.
Respite from temptation delays overdue taxation.
Parrots operate as parents of repressed parodies.
A mongoose in the pocket is worth the human condition.
Expulsion, without proper authentication, results in premature attainment of deception.
Which is worse: curse or reverse?
Eve to God
Could I ask you why you preserve
deception? Could I ask you why
you grant that my will perceives
failure? Could I ask you how
tropical gave me grace, but
I am broken.
Bestow Adam upon me. Unify
my resistance. As a bird, I transform
from nest to air. My shadow witnesses
the heritage of the reptile. I am flock,
herd, bestial queen, unholy empress.
Eve: To the Serpent
Are you a Christian? What kind, I wonder? Your sadist system
distanced me from my mistaken bliss. We had no tryst; I looked
in the prism of your charisma and I believed. It was a risk; my vista
dissolved in that interstitial schism. An abysmal cyst remains,
a constant wistful fist in my veins. I got the gist of your hiss too late;
I’m pissed. I list and list in this miasmic misprision, this faithlessness.
Eve to Earth
I’d like to start over today. Make
some new friends. Move
to a new place. Forget about
Adam, God, the Garden
and the Serpent. I need a beach,
sunshine and the ocean. I will
lose myself to the blue sky. I will find
myself in that cloud, there, hanging
above the horizon, don’t you see it?
Sally Van Doren’s book, “Sex at Noon Taxes,” won the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets in 2007 and was published by Louisiana State University Press in 2008. Her poems have appeared in recently American Poet, Boulevard, Crayon, diode, 5AM, Margie, The New Republic, Ping-Pong, Sawbuck, Southwest Review, and Verse Daily.