2022 Greg Grummer Poetry Contest Honorable Mention
God had made for Adam a Jungle.
The Gardens of Eden rioted, strived
against Adam’s toil. Each day he cut
the branches back, severed the strangle
of vines, plucked the fruits and gorged upon them
so no good thing would go to waste.
But each morning he found they had grown
back to choke the paths he had beaten.
The branches redoubled, the vines
re-sprawled. The fruits, heavy with ripeness,
dropped into the darkness of the undergrowth
where they rotted—filling Eden’s wilds
with a dank smell that sowed seeds of despair
in Adam’s heart. At night he dreamt of dark roots
diving into his flesh as he slept in his bower.
Supping of him, draining his mind
back into the ruthless life of the forests
whose trees were older than his memory.
He began to forget the names he himself had given,
that once flowed from his lips as from a font.
New things he had never known bloomed forth:
flowers cross-pollinating, organisms combining
in strange forms that were not spoken in the first words.
How could Eve appear to him as anything
but an answer? First a form familiar
into which he could pour himself,
to hear his own voice so that doubt became
a fertile uncertainty. Then, through her eyes,
he saw again the miracle that was this life.
The colors of the flowers, the divine purpose
toward which the profound and visible world worked.
Her dreams pregnant with light and with wings,
flame and floodwaters. The images in her speech
dancing before his eyes in multicolor.
But from such vision he found himself finally forsaken,
her mind as impenetrable as the jungle of his trials.
grew up in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts and received his MA from The University of Chicago. Some of his writing can be found in The Airgonaut, Redactions: Poetry and Poetics, Everyday Fiction, and Frontier Tales. He gets into a bit of this and that. Check out his Youtube channel for a couple oddities.