by Larry Pike
Security camera footage remained unclear
despite the techs’ attempts to enhance it.
Did Eve hesitate before she relented
and reached for the alluring orb dangling
on a tender stem? Fluttering leaves
brushed her hand as she closed fingers
around unblemished skin, still dewy
in early morning, then plucked the apple
with a snap. She seemed surprised she didn’t
she didn’t die or even feel a jolt. “Told you,”
whispered the glossy green snake, camo’d
among the foliage. “God wasn’t going to hurt you.”
The girl weighed the fruit. “But He said.”
A limb supporting the shiny scales heaved
on a gust. Draped on the thin branch, the snake—
a mamba, maybe, or a boomslang, something
arboreal, with juice—licked its lips, a dry smile.
“Go ahead, eat up, you’ll know what
the Lord knows,” it urged. “But He said,”
she uttered again. “Ssssshh—good, evil,
all of it, a bite away.” Eve listened, and
opened her mouth to sample the bounty.
When her teeth pierced the flesh, it appeared
that her expression clouded, an unsettled look
like she remembered she’d left the oven on or
misplaced her keys. It doesn’t help to rewind and
review the low-res video; there are too many shadows.
But, plainly, she flinched as the serpent leaned in,
apparently to suggest, “Your husband will want
a taste.” Eve demurred. “Adam’s working today,
stacking firewood, sweeping out the garage.”
A coil constricted her wrist above the glistening pulp
as the serpent glided them away from the tree.
“Perfect timing. He’ll want a break. He’ll want
to see you. You look good.” Eve covered herself
with her empty hand, now thinking a step
ahead, which she wished she had done before.
She’d offer a nibble to her simple man; she had to.
He wouldn’t resist. He’d savor a crunchy bite.
But she didn’t doubt that, while turning a morsel
in his mouth, Adam would accuse her of duping him,
claim he hadn’t craved the apple, too. She knew Adam
would even blame God. And who could she condemn—
the snake, who would shrug if it still had shoulders?
Larry Pike is a retired human resources manager. His poetry has appeared in a variety of publications, including most recently Capsule Stories, Briefly Write, Jelly Bucket, and Halfway Down the Stairs. His collection Even in the Slums of Providence is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. He lives in Glasgow, Kentucky.