Verse – The Exchange

INTRO: This piece uses the Hebrew terms for man (atham) and woman (athama), descriptions that remind Hebrew readers that human beings are of the dust, of the earth.

The Exchange 

“Did God really say you will die if you
eat the fruit of the tree in the middle
of the garden, the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil?” asked the snake
of the woman beside the Elysian tree.

So she did eat and so did he – Atham
and Athama, the earthlings – wishing to
be like God, mocking death by dividing
evil from the good down below where
a snake exchanged a hiss for a kiss.

“Cursed are you among all animals,”
said God. “On your belly you shall go,
eating dust along your way. Atham
and Athama will bruise your head,
and you shall bruise their heel.”

Then the two-legged creatures knowing
good and evil, dividing the Garden between
sheep and goats, stumbled at a nip on
the heel and heard a hiss: “You, too,
are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Of the forbidden fruit of that one tree all
earthlings still do eat despite the voice
from the tree that tamed the snake,
exchanging a kiss for the hiss: “Forgive
them, for they know not what they do.”

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Dec. 28, 2015

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