Eve Visits the Aquarium Where a Green Anaconda Has Just Given Birth via Parthenogenesis
O, for a whole world
only their eyes
above the water
scanning the banks
for prey. Anna,
conception slid free,
and I rejoice.
I’d paint you
in every poppy field,
I’d paint you
wreathed in roses
creamy as apple flesh.
Eve and Johnny Appleseed Sift Through Ohio Pomace
Nurseries, not orchards.
A common misconception.
He took it from me. I didn’t offer.
I wasn’t finished.
Is this seed good?
Takes a few years to know.
Mind those yellowjackets:
their sting, the pain—
I know something about pain.
Cold’s coming. Bring your wolf.
We’ll walk ourselves warm.
The press is strong, the pomace
dry. I should haul another bucket
to wet the pulp for ciderkin.
John. Your hands shake.
Forget the children’s drink, our walk.
The cabin’s here. Rest’s no waste.
Can I ask you about
afterwards? When time becomes
being and space collapses—
—into love? Yes. Did you know
I’m not afraid of fire anymore?
I had daughters too.
Eve Makes a Target for William Tell
Tell me, sharp-eyed William, what is it like
to sink your bolt through your lord’s neck?
Were you so hungry that you ate the apple
afterward, watching his chest forget to rise,
brushing the worst of the dirt from your half,
giving the cleaner flesh to your son?
Nameless the son, nameless his mother.
Were their eyes Lucerne blue, or dark like mine?
Tell me, what is it like to outswim the storm,
what is it like to have so many ways to die?
Carolyn Oliver’s poetry has appeared in Indiana Review, Cincinnati Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Booth, Glass, Sixth Finch, Southern Indiana Review, Sugar House Review, FIELD, and elsewhere. She is the winner of the Frank O’Hara Prize from the Worcester Review and the Writer’s Block Prize in Poetry. Carolyn lives in Massachusetts with her family. carolynoliver.net.