The Garden of Eden
The gate to Eden is really only barb wire fencing
strung between crook-necked sticks,
hinged to rust-streaked limestone posts, bleeding on the prairie.
A gate to keep the pasture in place for children and cows;
to play among devil’s claw, sucking the dirt
from the roots of wild onions with purple flowers,
or play hide and seek with horny toads and box turtles.
At its tightest, saggy trousers and tattered shirts,
the latch, a belt of baling wire slick in my sweaty palms.
Open, it flops in a hopscotch trap,
with barbs of steel poking the ground.
We were sentinels of silage, hauled in a dying farmer’s Ford pickup.
Prairie angels with sunflower swords, keeping out all that is bad-
escaping the wrath of rattlesnakes, fire ants, and sand burrs.
The Garden of Eden, before the fall.
First published in Nature Writing, 2017