Cain at the Potter’s Wheel

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video of Annabelle Moseley's poem, Cain at the Potter’s Wheel

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Annabelle Moseley

Cain at the Potter’s Wheel

 

      We never knew the garden, only clay
      of life in exile. Between the knees
      of Eve we were born—spinning in the gray
      formation of her wheel. She tried to squeeze
      our open mouths until each was a vase—
      open to what she poured—twin vessels of
      right judgment, holders of good speech. She’d glaze
      our cries by coating them with words like love
      and bringing stolen flowers and cut fruit
      from someplace far away. And I always
      asked where they came from. Taken with the root
      of things, I used their seeds to fill my days
      and grew a new garden for Adam, Eve—
      a paradise they wouldn’t have to leave.

      A paradise they wouldn’t have to leave,
      I thought. I offered my best crops to Eve—
      but they were tinged with Eden. Adam grieved,
      refused to eat the memories. Abel’s sleeve
      was stained with blood, the slaughter. But they’d eat
      what he brought home. It was the same with God.
      They all preferred the dead lamb to the wheat.
      And so I hit the butcher with my rod
      and planted him—the broken shards, to see
      what he would grow. Nothing, nothing, nothing.
      No rose to make Eve smile, not a tree
      to root Adam from leaving—not a ring
      to join mother and father—just the sound
      of Abel’s blood, spinning beneath the ground.