Editors’ Choice: Emma Moreman

The Second Set, Emma Moreman
The Second Set, digital, 9 x 12.5, 2012

Editors’ Choice: Jade Ramsey

Outside the Garden

There’s dirt in the carpet between
the concrete slab and the indoor/outdoor tight
mess of curls in rows of mauve.
It’s living. Like fleas. I shouldn’t
pour water on the floor. Shouldn’t cry. I will
only make mud. Dirt doesn’t
go away. Neither does dust—
so much dust falling from some other
world—someone else to blame.
Somehow I retell Eve’s story:
It is ‘he said, she said’ in the garden.
Though there is the snake—there’s always a snake.
And where is God exactly? Where now
is that fruit? Just a metaphor. I see
Adam next to the snake. Attached to the snake.
Adam and the snake are one.
The snake says to eat, “Kiss the snake.”
Adam isn’t talking, it is the snake.
Isn’t the fruit poisoned? Eve shouldn’t have
left the room—shouldn’t have trusted Adam. He hid
the snake until the end. Chokes knowledge
down her, both good and evil, her lips tight,
her tongue pulled back to the soft place beyond
the roof of her mouth—a bad savor—
not sweet—how the ashes of people must
taste if mixed with rust and celery.

Let her rest now. Let her close her
eyes and walk out of the garden alone
while the dew is still on some of the roses.
Only snakes and fake fruit left in that garden
none other has ever known.

Editors’ Choice: Louisa Howerow

Harvesting of Lost Hearts

After the first frost, the old woman stoops
over rotting logs, pushes apart clumps
of fan-shaped moss, uncovers clenched hearts
that beat so erratically she knows
they’ve forgotten how fierce they once were.
She untangles their roots, tugs gently
to draw them free.  No brushing away
dirt or grubs. No scolding or
reminding them their eagerness was all wrong,
this losing themselves to sweet mouths,
unhurried hands. When dusk slips into itself
and moths flurry from balsam firs,
she nestles her harvest in a faded brown sling
retraces her way past sword ferns, burial stones
and enters unlatched doors.