In the Garden of Good and Evil


We sat at the table,
Not careful with our words,
Swatting sunlit fruit flies,
Engaging in the mindless dance of daylight,
Rackets to wings,
Soaking in a broth of cackled laughter,
Reckless without walls and a roof to cap the wicked,
Watching the polite discourse run through the meal, debating feast or famine,
A potter’s temptation to squeeze wet clay as it shapes in his lustful hands.
Palming beauty can be a dark indulgence.

Silver tongues tarnish with wine and lucid speak,
Weapons unleashed, a devil’s bargain.
In the purge of civility,
You trade pain for freedom, until the realization
They are one in the same,
A bloodletting of the afflicted.
But I can only thrash about these gluttonous waters
Before I long for the perimeters
That held this table together.
Stripped down to wood and moss
And carefully placed plates
With tender food,
Made from delicate, strong fingers
And rosemary scented thumbs,
Formed below humming lips,
Silent songs working for a patient delivery.
The arrival of gratitude and grace.

I wait for the din of forks and knives to rest
Before I excuse myself,
Clearing my half eaten words,
Throwing in the silk napkin,
Threaded from the chrysalis creatures
Bouncing off the hanging tree
In the garden of good and evil.

-S. S. Hicks


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