Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2015  Vol. 14 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Garden Quarrel

1 The Change
There was something theatrical in the air,
like the coming of a circus.

I don’t know, the world seemed a dummy run
after that dawn-cold snake.

I realized life could be
like the nest of some tremendous bird.

I was always a religious bitch,
all prolepsis and superstition.


2 Reason Is But Choosing
Eve ate the apple
she tasted the snake

Adam ate Eve
he tasted the apple

Their hunger
had the grandeur
of a famine

A tristesse
falls upon the scene
like a light rainfall

There is something mysterious
about lyric poetry

The long glare walls
of evening
were constructed in a spirit of play

Adam’s a tragédien
Eve opens and closes her legs like a book
No one is waiting for life to begin

Their tears eventually
turn back into
the leaves of the tree


3 The Snake
The snake says it needs a tree, so here is a tree.
It says, make the tree stir its tops and play
their emerald lights. I do. I slide the clouds
off the sun for good measure.

Two nights it has lain in wait, this figure with no arms.
Now it approaches the shimmering lights in the tree,
studies the glassy dullness of the couple.
They don’t know yet that they are alive.

The snake tells her to take her thumb out of
her mouth; a soul needs the presence
of desire. It says it’s worth dying to understand
the conditions under which figure, tree, man,

or woman might smash. She moves toward
the moral impunity of the apple. I ease it from its branch,
so that it is snake-low. She eats it carefully,
inspecting the potential of the snake with each bite.  end  

“Garden Quarrel” from The Wilderness, 2014 by Sandra Lim, used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company.

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