Losing Eden

~ “Adam and Eve in the Garden,” Lucas Cranach the Elder (1533)

Seven apples suspend in the tree
around whose forked limb the serpent

twines like a grey rubber prop, its head
extending like the head of an adjustable

lamp over the couple beneath. So this
is what it means to have lost Eden—

the man with his arm draped casually
over the woman, their shoulders

slumped in lassitude as if they’ve bought
tickets to a matinee screening of a movie

they’re not particularly excited to see.
He’s looking at her, but her expression

is like whatever. The blue at the edge
of the sky is the tint from a vintage

postcard, and the beasts that flank them
are awkward as children not quite out

of their teens: the deer with its knock-
kneed joints, the lion with its underbite

and limp, flat locks. Only her body has
a kind of bleached sheen, but even that

is flat as everything: dark vegetation
more brown than green, not even a hint

of some flame of forbidden desire
to redden the fruit they share.

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