Skip to Content

Abortion in the Garden of Eden

By Venus Thrash

Deep in the heart of the Garden of Eden,
past the Euphrates & Tigris riverbanks,
the marsh grass, reed beds, bulrushes, 
the rough-leafed black mulberry's
sweet purple fruit, the sour pomegranate's
brief bloom, the pistachio, split open to green
tart flesh, the date palm's intoxicating wine,
its meaty drupe, twilight's first meal, breaking
fast for Ramadan, its fanned leaves laid across
the Way of Suffering at the soles of Jesus' feet;
past the olive's anointing oil, burnt offering
in holy temples, the opulent branches crowning
victors of wars, the remnants sealed 3000 years
in Tutankhamen's tomb; past citric lime's aromatic
pulp, the fig's feminine flower, the pubescent
apricot, akin to the peach, its erogenous nectar,
healing stone; past clusters of grapes, violently
lush, mellowing on overcrowded vines, sugary
cinnamon artlessly hewn from the bark
of evergreens; past Aphrodite's succulent
quince, bewitching to Atalanta, whose sworn
virginity to Artemis was felled by the tempting
pome; past stiff-necked tulips, night-blooming
jasmines, blood-stained hyacinths, deep-rooted
camel thorns, willows in the rivers' midst,
the Tree of Life vowing immortality; past the Tree
of Knowledge of Good & Evil, damning
womankind, stands a wild row of herbal shrubs
eclipsing shady corners of a disillusioned
paradise; bastard hellebore, brewed by witches
to summon forth demons, or blood, cures hysterics,
women screaming, running naked through the streets;
common rue, Herb-of-Grace, constricts the womb;
birthwort for snakebite, seeds, contraceptive,
tea leaves purge the embryo; bitter waters,
fed to a pregnant wife, testing infidelity,
branded adulteress, disavowed if she miscarries--
that if Eve had not eaten the fateful apple,
she never would have known--
what knuckleheads Cain & Abel,
how demanding raising civilization
can be, how the curse of painful labor proves
God's vengeance is exacting, how envy
drives the hearts of men to murder.

Added: Monday, July 14, 2014  /  From "The Fateful Apple" (Hawkins Publishing Group, 2014). Used with permission.
Venus Thrash

Venus Thrash (1969 - 2021) has had poetry published in Gargoyle, Beltway Quarterly, Torch, and the Arkansas Review, and in the anthologies Spaces Between Us: An HIV/AIDS Anthology, Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC, Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem's First Decade, and Haunted Voices, Haunting Places: An Anthology of Writers of the Old and New South. She has read at the Studio Museum in Harlem, The Schomburg Center for African American Research, and The Library of Congress. She was a professor of fiction and poetry, and a mother. Thrash released her first book, The Fateful Apple, in 2014.

Other poems by this author