I don’t remember the time
of nameless animals.
The lions have been lions too long
for even Adam to think of them as anything else.
My calloused feet have forgotten the luxury
of a thornless silt-soft ground.
Grandchildren often ask me to describe the face of the serpent-man
who came to tempt me,
but the details of his jawline, eye color,
and skin-tone have all rubbed free of my mind—
scrubbed away by a thousand other faces I’ve seen since.
Others beg for word-painted pictures of the ominous tree,
But I can only say I can’t recall anything like it
before or since. Each grove lacks a certain half-remembered scent.
I don’t remember much of Eden. My family must prompt me
in the particulars of my own story. My garden has, mercifully,
faded into a myth
of soft-gummed carnivores
and self-watered wheat.
All the details, all the colors, all the sharp edges are gone.
But the fruit?
I can still taste it.