At First Bite


Haute bourgeoisie amble down the avenue.

Toupees, umbrellas, billowing skirts rise

skyward, swirling swiftly in currents

like plane tree leaves stripped by hand.

Winds as straight as the tree’s slim trunk

scrub gravel between railway lines: a softer

landing for those who bolt off platforms

into nothing stouter than a smoky ale.


Before the Fall, Adam could choose only

good. He thumb-wrestled the serpent,

scraped off a few scales, then picked up

Eve’s already plucked fruit. “Hmmm, not bad.”

Not bad, but evil, as it turns out, the dormant possibility

made real in an act of will still free at first bite. If only

he could have envisioned the cost. If only in the shade

of the tree, rattled by the wind, his conscience had bloomed.

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