“The Garden You Called Eden”
By Julie Pratt
You return to me across a chasm in time since we last sat in your kitchen, curtains quivering in the warm breeze, my skin damp from cutting grass with your old hand mower, the scent of peonies you picked that morning and of toasted cheese sandwiches and sliced ripe pears. Remember? you whisper, and I do — the garden you called Eden, consuming your small backyard, and the magnolia you planted the year I was born, your first granddaughter, delighted each spring when the tree touted its pink blossoms with petals the size of a child’s hand. I conjure the coooo-woo-woo-woo of the mourning doves you drew to your stoop with millet and corn. Nature was your pleasure and duty more than it was your dominion. You revered all living things, each one laced into the whole as perfectly as the scarves you crocheted. I remember the day you cleared the cans of Black Flag from your shed after learning about DDT and the dead birds. You said it was up to my generation to save the earth — a tall order and one we have blundered, leaving a legacy of fire and flood. I long for one more lunch at your kitchen table. I’d ask what you think would have happened if a woman had written Genesis. Would the fruits of knowledge be a blessing and leaving Eden a rite of passage? What if the only true offense is not using our wisdom in service to the world?
Julie Pratt is a poet inspired by nature and by people working to change themselves and the world for the better. She worked for many years as a facilitator and writer for nonprofit organizations. Later in life, she earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine. Her poems have appeared in Passager, Persimmon Tree and ONE ART: a journal of poetry. She lives with her partner in Charleston, West Virginia.
NOTE TO READERS: Since its founding in May 2020, WestVirginiaVille.com (a project of AmpMediaProject.com), has been a free online magazine of lively, opinionated & alternative writing and imagery about West Virginia. Help us stay in the business of offering ad-free, worthy content. CLICK HERE OR THE ‘DONATE’ BUTTON TO SUPPORT THE CAUSE.