Eve and the Serpent

Tending gently to her orchard, softened
By the lilies and the halcyon air, the first
Woman lay her head on a grassy knoll to

Rest and was enveloped by a pall of sleep.
When she awoke, she found herself masked
And wearing all white, standing in a strange

Cave with neither sky nor sun nor bees to
Console her. Bright lights and forbidding eyes
Appraised her, borne by the callous, brandished

By the knave; stretched out on a cryptic table
Lay a sleeping woman, and dressed like she
And Adam were wont to do in the garden. Red

Water trickled out of her body; masked specters
Wielded knives, terrifying instruments disappeared
And reappeared in flickering hands; a mysterious

Mechanical bird kept beeping maddeningly; its
Echo relentless, inexorable. Suddenly, a wily
Attending approached; motioning to the wound,

He said “Are you really such a pathetic coward?
She’s unconscious and won’t feel a thing. This
Is a teaching hospital; teaching requires learning,

Learning requires doing.” “Good heavens, if I
Don’t comply, I might not get into my residency
Program in neurocardiogenic hemochromatosis

At Harvard,” fretted the ingénue. “Then what
Would Adam say?” Standing on the precipice,
She willed herself into the abyss, her mind of a

New maid roving. And that was how Eve turned
Her back on the Lord, exchanging her soul for
Knowledge, while embracing the tree of death.

David Penner has taught English and ESL within the City University of New York and at Fordham. His articles on politics and health care have appeared in CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Dr. Linda and KevinMD; while his poetry has been published with Dissident Voice. Also a photographer, he is the author of three books: Faces of Manhattan Island, Faces of The New Economy, and Manhattan Pairs. He can be reached at: 321davidadam@gmail. Read other articles by David.