Discourse in Eden

`I think I'll call it giraffe--

He speaks: she smiles; is

always smiling, but won't


watches the wide garden

with boundless pleasure.

`Giraffe!' he says, emphatic,

making her look; then sighs

`It isn't easy, having to find

so many different names.

Lively now, she offers help:

he's unconvinced.

`Well really it was me God told

to name the creatures...but p'rhaps

you could try something small...

`But my ideas are large.'

He takes her hand,

`We'll see...my love...tomorrow...'

Tomorrow she basks in sunlight,

grass tickling her toes,

`Where is giraffe?' he asks.

`Why here,' she says `somewhere here.'

`Nonsense! look there--

(finger stabbing) there, there,

there's no giraffe.' `But,

surely there's enough.'

`That's not the point--he's lost

if I can't see him, lost,

or somewhere else.'

So Adam goes off, questing.

And though the sky's still blue,

the leaves densely green,

there is a blank

a space within creation--

inscribed giraffe, it signifies

the other, absence, lack.

Eve feels, for the first time,


(above her head on the branch

but ripe to a hand's reach)

the fruit shines,

round, substantial.

From Antipodes

copyright Jennifer Strauss



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