When Sister sent Joe to the nurse's office,
we could hear his leg braces clatter
down the long green corridor, the heavy
door squeaked open, clicked shut,
Sister's voice reminding us
that God gave Joe polio to test
him, and to bless him, and I thought
of my father's jungle-rotted face,
my older brother's crossed eyes,
wondered what God had in store for
me now that we were all driven out of Paradise,
word Sister flung at us as she held
up the picture of Adam and Eve, a big
green snake coiled in an apple tree just
like the one by Big John's fence I planned
to climb that very dusk, when the shadows
darkened and no one would see me run, bent,
from tree to tree with my stick, knocking down
the apples that were not mine,
delicious, juicy apples I'd eat in the backyard's
garbage shed, knowing it was a sin,
the thick core open with my teeth
so I could get to the black shiny seeds.

--- Len Roberts

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