Life Outside

To punish me, Adam has taken over
the trees: Don’t touch any this time.
He lets the ripe fruit fall and dissolve
in the grass. I envy those flies
that just ride their wings into sweetness.

What do I say? I wish I could return to the tree
and turn away. I wish we could lie
naked in a field and nibble figs.
Now my stomach stirs like rocks
in a river. I can only wait
for him to pull a few roots and toss them
over his shoulder: Eat.

He is becoming the earth again.
It sifts through his hair
and settles in the creases of his skin.
His back ripples under the sun
like the mountains baking in the distance.

Sometimes, he stops and looks up,
as if a voice were breaking
through the trees. For a moment I see
his eyes, then they float over my shoulder,
as if another woman stood behind me,
beckoning him toward paradise.

—Tania Runyan

For more Tania Runyan poems, see A Thousand Vessels

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