There's something about Johnston County in the summertime
that reminds me of the garden of Eden.
When we met,
we were like two rosebuds
untouched by man and waiting to grow
naked and unashamed
with the voices of shade trees
and overgrown meadows
to guide us.
Children of the land,
bones formed from sand and faith
soft but firm, like a father's handshake
shaken into being by the storms of creation.
I wanted to fade into innocence with you,
but I didn't even know how often the world burns out.
I could call myself enamored
but before words
all we had were our eyes
and intertwined hands
the love the land
power plants and all the glowing things of this world
drew us apart but never finished the picture.
The sculptor's hands
twisted like taproots
trying to navigate underground power lines.
They, too must die
like man-made stars collapsing half a world away
unable to kiss protons into periodic smiles
turning my wooden heart
into a waterwheel
then hydroelectric engine
then a radioactive chamber
churning Chernobyl into my blood vessels.
This is the stuff disasters are made of.
From European fallout
to California forest fires
Our serpents could be called genocides.
When every action has a reaction
and every hidden flame has a backdraft
that chars Eden to the ground
because everything burns.
It makes me wonder
if I could stand the sight of you
even after original sin
and the knowledge is a curse.
And I'm the smartest man left on the cinder
and I thought we'd fade into innocence together
but our love is so artificial
I can see the gears turning in your lies.
I can't even remember our stems anymore.
And in spite of it all,
I can't help but replace the green of life
with the green of envy
and wish I was him.