Pomegranate Seeds

Today I woke at dawn
I lingered by my sleeping wife
Ran my hands over her white back and through her dark hair
And smiled to see the red of her lips, still stained with the juice of pomegranate seeds
Before I got up on my feet
And began to look around.

It is warmer here today
And the ground is firmer than it was.
I have to use both hands to dig it.
We'll begin soon to clear land for our farm, a small pasture for our sheep and cow.
(Let's call that one a sheep, I said to her
And that one a cow.
Maybe they'll come live with us.)
Plowing is harder, but then I can plant seeds one by one
So we can have beans and wheat and artichokes growing right in front of us.

Don't misunderstand, I never wanted to be a god.
Only he light between day and sunset on the split pomegranate she held in her cupped
Looked like a beginning of possibilities
And the taste of the seeds was both sweet and bitter
As I ate them one by one from her fingers.

Yesterday after it happened we knew we had to go.
We had nothing to pack, of course, so we set out holding hands so we wouldn't slip in the
And it got darker and darker until the only light was from the few chips of brightness above
And the rain came down, and the ground muddied beneath us.
It was hard to walk, and anyway there was nowhere else to go.
We lay down together and clasped one another against the cold.
"Is this our punishment?" she asked
"Is this the only light that's left us?"
"I don't know," I answered.

When she cried that night her tears on my face tasted like rain.

Now I see our land, our world
The blue of the heavens which are, somehow, still there
The greens and yellows of the grains that I will plant for my wife and I
And the many shades of apples and pears that I gather now for our breakfast.

Perhaps she has risen by now, to see the light of dawn like a handful of pomegranate


Note: Written December 1998.