• Meg Gaertner

The Taste of Choice

Yes, I have already written on the subject of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden, so why take it as my muse again? I suppose I am entranced with the story that, whether we are a “secular” or “multicultural” society or not, is set so deep in our psyches as a cultural creation story, a story that positions weak-minded, devil-bidden woman as the source of all humanity’s ills. It seems to me that a society cannot honor women as equals if its fundamental cosmology includes this notion that women are either servants of evil or distinctly inferior to men in mental capacity. So here we are.

One breathless bite.


Falling, fallen, felled,

Gasping, groaning, gorged,

Filled, overflowing with terror,

Terrible sights to behold,

Monstrosities beheld by an innocent,

No longer so innocent,

Heart broken for the screams

Breaking upon the empty wood.

Collapsing, collapsed, heaving, heavy,

Woman shattered on the cold ground.


Time starts then.

The great cosmic clock,

Clicking and whirring,

Gears settling into place, into rhythm

Behind the scenes.

For the woman, time means reprieve,

Each second taking her slowly, steadily

Further and further from horror.

Each memory infinitesimally fainter

Than the one before.

She can feel each breath fill her

And empty her

Taking away pain,

Which is never as cruel

As when first felt.

She opens her eyes then.

Sees the snake, coolly

Watching from his branch.

Compassion or curiosity in his

Moon-reflecting eyes.

Shifting, sliding, swallowed by the

Pearly glow upon his skin.

She weeps at his beauty.

He seems a godsend.


Rising, realizing, reaping what has been sown,

A seed,

A seed of potential—what else?—of

Possibility and poor decisions and

right ones too.

Snake witnesses, wishes, wonders,

What will the woman do?

Settling, stalwart, supine on the branch,

Marveling at her marveling.

Moon-cast glow plays on this innocent face,

Naked and blushing by the clear waters,

Startled and wondering at each winged creation

Soaring, delightedly, on the wind’s slightest breath.

Laughter breaks the silent reverie,

Reverent in its joyous melody.

Woman-child smiles to the sky

And chooses.


There is no hero, aye,

Or villain too

who has not once tasted

of the forbidden fruit.

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