By Lillian Klein Abensohn
God talked to Adam;
Eve got everything second-hand.
Since the great taboo was mandated
Man to man, it’s no wonder
She listened to the friendly serpent
Who spoke to her;
And what he said made sense:
The fruit of the tree seemed good for food
And beautiful to behold, and if it really
Makes one wise, why not?
Adam didn’t protest, and he was standing right there
Beside her. He didn’t say the serpent was wily
Or that tasting the fruit was forbidden.
In fact, he took a bite as soon as he saw
She didn’t die.
Then they saw each other
And covered their differences.
Adam blamed Eve,
Eve blamed the serpent,
And the serpent was silent.
God banned them from the garden of innocence,
The easy life of ignorance,
To bruising birth and hard hoeing:
Banned them to know
Each other, and death, and life.
Dr. Klein took her Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine Campus. She taught at the University of Maryland, Munich Campus for twenty years before returning to the States to teach at American University in Washington, D.C. She has published books in biblical literary studies and individual poems over the years. “In the Garden” is from a book of poetry: Lost Voices: Biblical Women Reveal their Stories.