………………And the woman said, The serpent
………………beguiled me, and I did eat.
Beguiled, my ass. I said no such thing.
You say I lost the gift of Paradise.
I couldn’t lose what I never had.
You say the serpent tempted me to eat.
You omit that he entered the Garden
on two legs and walked like a man.
And here’s what your story always ignores:
I had pure gold, rare perfume, precious stones,
but Adam hadn’t touched me all those years.
Perfection in the Garden didn’t mean that way.
Not having it and not wanting it
was God’s idea of perfection, not mine.
So when that serpent strolled up to the tree,
all upright and fine, he threw off the balance,
and I began to pray, Oh let him be mine.
When he held out the apple, so round and lush,
when he stroked it to a keen red glow,
I didn’t fall to temptation—I rose to it.
I ate that apple because I was hungry.
I wanted what lay outside Paradise,
a world without the burden of perfection.
Now you call all sinful women my sisters.
I say, let them claim their own damn sins.
The apple may not be perfect, but it’s mine.
Previously published in US 1 Worksheets and included in Eve’s Red Dress (Wind Publications, 2003).
Diane Lockward‘s most recent poetry book is Temptation by Water. Her poems have appeared in Harvard Review and Prairie Schooner and been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer’s Almanac.
Object(s) to bring back to life: “The marshmallow sundae with black raspberry ice cream and chocolate sprinkles, the weekend treat of my childhood.”