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THE DEATH OF EVE & POEM — Antje Katcher

on September 7 | in Poetry | by | with No Comments

On the first day, when he told me
never to touch that tree, I could not remember
which of the myriad things
around us he had named trees
but did understand
that I was expected
to please and comply
and not to ask questions
 
Thus the rest was inevitable –
when I encountered another
insistent, smooth tongue
I simply said yes.
 
On the whole I had no regrets,
found I quite liked getting my hands in the dirt
raising chickens, taming wild dingoes
rubbing his back in the evening
 
Did not mind that much
the daily act of contrition
his grumbling about the bliss
I had lost him with one careless bite
kept quiet when he burnt half the harvest
to beg for return of plenty
saw little harm when he taught our sons
to sacrifice likewise for the sake of past favor
 
It was too late when I noticed
they were neglecting their traps and fields
jealously scanning the sky for signs
too late to learn how to speak
after so many years of silence
too late to cry out for Abel cradled dead in my lap
too late to weep for Cain
on his outcast wanderings
too late to do anything
 
But get up, wrap myself in a deer hide
pick up a stick, gather fire,
whistle to the she-wolf
and start walking west
Here at last – east of Eden
by the rim of a shallow salt lake
I sit, trying to know that strange face in the water
lit by the dying embers hoarded in the skull of my son.
 


THE BRAVE LITTLE TAILOR

according to Grimm

Greetings,
said the Unicorn to the Tailor,
greetings on this fine day
 
But, said the Tailor,
don’t you know there is no
such thing as a unicorn
 
Oh I am, she cried,
don’t you see that I am
Fair as the morning air
 
Bright as the morning light
Soft as the mourning dove
Fleeting as morning love…
 
The Tailor alas
saw no future in poetry
so he chopped off her ivory rod
rode her home for his hobby horse
and married his ugly
but very rich princess
 
Unicorns since that day
travel in disguise
 
 
Antje Katcher — poet, publisher, political activist — died in April, 2014. A posthumous collection of her work, Catechism: New and Selected Poems is forthcoming from Three Mile Harbor Press, PO Box #1, Stuyvesant, NY 12173.

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