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.

[Purchase your copy of Issue 05 here]

Original Sin

Related Posts

poetry feature image

January 2021 Poetry Feature: Bruce Bond

BRUCE BOND
I was just another creature crawling from the mausoleum, / and I thought, so this is it, the place in the final chapter / where I am judged for all my cruelties, blunders, failures of attention, / and I waited for the furies to take me, or some such host. / But it was just another morning.

Sky full of comets

Poems in Translation from Bestia di gioia

MARIANGELA GUALTIERI
And he soars / saved, outstretched / untouched by the gravity that pins us / down / we deserters of empty spaces and heights / shadows cast / into modest taverns for a bite. / Heads in capitals / of rust. / A lifetime annuity of darkness. / Only a cry can save us now.

poetry feature image

December 2020 Poetry Feature: Denise Duhamel and Jeffrey Harrison

DENISE DUHAMEL
Where was I / when I was 20? I’d already been accepted / as an exchange student, taking my first plane ride / to London where I’d catch a train / to Wales. On that first flight, I sat next to a woman / in a shawl—how old was she? It’s hard to say.