This week’s poem is by Leonard Kress, who has published nine collections of poetry. His most recent is “Walk Like Bo Diddley” (Black Swamp Poetry Press, 2016). Kress teaches philosophy and religion at Owens College in Ohio.

The poem is dedicated to Henry and Joan Braun, who lived off the grid in Weld, Maine, for many years before Henry died in 2014 at the age of 84. Henry Braun taught for many years at Temple University, where Kress studied as an undergraduate.

In his poem, Kress imagines Henry and Joan as Adam and Eve re-entering Eden in the 21st Century. It is their knowledge of metaphor that allows them to sneak into the garden.

The Garden

By Leonard Kress

They’d done the impossible, reentered the garden,

somehow slipped beneath the guard’s threatening scimitar,

scanning eyes, listening device, streaming video,

and greed for bounty, heretofore impenetrable.

I’d like to think the perfect trope is what got them through,

the narrow gap between the vehicle and tenor,

needle’s eye, suspended moment between said and meant—

and they parted the willow locks and dove right into

the spring-fed pond, draping their clothes on the elm branch, split

from the trunk by lightning for this purpose, floating and

washing each other in the wavering grid of light,

which a Florentine Master might employ to fix the

proportions and idealized gestures of paradise.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is Portland’s poet laureate. This column is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2016 Leonard Kress. It appears here by permission of the author.

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