Eve's Tattoo

By Richard Maxson

Let the ink tell the real story,
not his dream of me—the assistant,
standing naked, the snake coiled
around my arm, the temptress
with the son who died
for pride and smoke.

Show my daughters how
we threshed the dry grain,
and baked the flat bread,
on the rocks of a sad history,
hidden behind splendor.

It’s not easy with gods
and men, nailing their edicts
to a tree, one way or another,
making their pronouncements,
from balconies and mountaintops.

Their gods expect compliance,
but we are the mavens
who haggle sheep for a life,
from our cloth and paper prisons,
to keep the promises true.

You can believe the old story,
if it helps you sleep,
but remember, I am in you
always, the cage bone,
the one closest to the heart.

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