In the Nag Hammad texts the Garden of Eden story
is told by the snake. The petulant Lord hurls Adam and Eve
from Paradise and Jesus speaks in koans.
All this lost, forbidden, apocrypha,
but someone buried the stuff in clay pots just in case.
And some afternoons I walk my children through
the old cemetery and say the silly vanished names aloud—
Halloween, Belladonna—not forgetting that the Egyptians
believed saying the names of the dead could bring them back to life,
and that Marconi believed sound never stopped
and that one day we would create an instrument
capable of capturing every noise ever emitted in a space,
and we haven’t, and that’s just the beginning—
but bees can weave their honeycombs
from two or three different places and join the cells together
without leaving a seam, and Henry Hudson’s men knew they were near
the New World when they began to smell the trees.
Susan Hutton recently held a Stegner Fellowship, and her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, DoubleTake, Crazyhorse, Epoch, and other magazines. They have also been selected by Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is director of development for the independent poetry publisher Autumn House Press. (updated 2004)