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From The Forbidden Tree
Fatima V. Lim
 
After EDSA
 
 
How lovely it must have been 
The tree set distinctly apart
From the others.
The peaches, dates, and nectarines 
Must have paled 
In their bland perfection.
Not even the singing, shimmering 
Birds darting from branch
To luminous branch could distract her
As much as the sinister rustling 
Of the ferruginous leaves 
And the upright snake 
Speaking sweetly
With its forked tongue.

Perhaps she was just bored.
Bored with the man 
Of the missing rib
Who was beginning to repeat
Himself, having run out of names
For the rest of the world.

Perhaps she felt
A shared companionship
With the snake
Who had only sought
A true and absolute wisdom.
It is not too clear now.
All she can recall 
Is the first bite:
How her mouth filled 
With meaningless tears 
And split blood.

Roughly she was awakened 
By the snake's crazed dancing 
On its hideous feet
And by her mate's calling forth 
Of her name, over and over 
From a distance.
The marred fruit
Rolls away from her fingers.
She tries to shield
With her less 
Than adequate hands 
The tremulous expanse
Of her nakedness.
--1988
     
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