The Middle East 1991

Somewhere along the banks of the Euphrates,
Adam reached for the apple,
but bit into the horseradish instead--
God said "it's the principle of the thing," and flung
him head over heels into the desert across distant


over which the gareden becomes buried under oil wells and nations.
Adam and his industrious wife have spawned
Muslims and Christians and cripples and Jews and sexual
offenders and Noah and Satan-worshippers and the Ayotolah
and America and Mother Teresa and Madonna--
each one an extension of the infinitely-headed beast that butts its faces

as it drills for riches and crosses false boundaries, setting
and breaking the rules in the name of God and country and glory and

Imported bombs light up the sky,
beguiling on CNN with their firework swirls as they miss
their targets and spill the blood of birds and children,
catching the passing interest of the serpent lying safe iin the cradle of
his satisfied tongue flickering disdainfully between the
apple blossoms, beady eyes mocking
the spark-lit night sky.

Nicole Gelinas