Eve Walking Through
Eve walks the garden
mud splashed to her thighs
everything filmed with damp—
mushrooms sprout in the leaf layers,
tar spot blooms on the sycamore.
All summer the leaves blister
and fall out of season,
crinkle underfoot like shed snake skins—
blot, the neighbors complain, scourge, canker—
no, she assures them without rancor,
the tar spot’s dark roses innocent of sin
live their own reason—
my lovely fungus she calls it
my brooding sister.
It’s something like the sky,
requires the same attention, is just as likely
to be ignored. When the body
no longer longs for
its more complicated maneuvers,
its animal exertions, that doesn’t mean
it’s not still humming along under its breath.
I can give up the importance of breasts,
the smooth flesh of the stomach,
a leg thrown over a thigh
or a hand on the back of a knee—
if only a face, yours—the one I’d look for
when startled from uneasy sleep, late
for an appointment
and I can’t find my shoes.
Susan Jo Russell
Susan Jo Russell is a mathematics educator from Somerville, MA. Her poems have appeared in Bellingham Review, Chautauqua, Passager, Slant, The Comstock Review, and elsewhere, and she has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poem, “Tree,” won the 2018 Amy Lowell Prize from the New England Poetry Club. Her chapbook, We Are Not Entirely Abandoned, is published by Finishing Line Press. She co-directs the Brookline Poetry Series.