Original Sin

By LAWRENCE RAAB

That was one idea my mother
always disliked. She preferred her god
to be reasonable, like Emerson or Thoreau
without their stranger moments.
Even the Old Testament God’s
sudden angers and twisted ways
of getting what he wanted she’d accept
as metaphors. But original sin
was different. Plus no one agreed
about whether it was personal, meaning
all Adam’s fault, or else some kind
of temporary absence of the holy,
which was Adam’s fault as well.
In any case, it made no sense
that we’d need to be saved before
we’d even had the chance
to be wrong. Yes, eventually everyone
falls into error, but when my sister and I
were babies she could see we were perfect,
as we opened our eyes and gazed up at her
with what she took for granted as love,
long before either of us knew the word
and what damage it could cause.

 

 

Lawrence Raab is the author of seven collections of poems, most recentlyThe History of Forgetting and A Cup of Water Turns into a Rose.

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Original Sin

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