Masolino’s The Temptation of Adam and Eve in the Brancacci Chapel

 

There isn’t a reason not to do this.
Whatever it is you want to do, just do.
Everything left undone is always missed.

The serpent spoke what seemed to him a hiss;
she understood—and then it hid from view.
There isn’t a reason not to do this.

Its face was hers, wanting to be kissed,
wanting to be desired, wanting her due:
Everything left undone is always missed.

Uncanny—and not easy to dismiss—
it went to feelings that she hardly knew:
There isn’t a reason not to do this.

She called it back and made it promise:
whatever she agreed, she could undo—
“Everything left undone is always missed.”

She used its words, but as she told it this
she swore she heard another point of view:
There is every reason not to do this.
Not everything left undone is always missed.

 

 

Stephen Gibson’s latest poetry collection, Self-Portrait in a Door-Length Mirror, was selected by Billy Collins as winner of the 2017 Miller Williams Prize from the University of Arkansas Press. He has published six prior collections, and his poetry has appeared widely in literary journals, such as Able Muse, American Arts Quarterly, The American Journal of Poetry, Boulevard, Gettysburg Review, Louisiana Literature, Nimrod, North American Review, Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, Sewanee Review, Shenandoah, Southern Review, and Yale Review. 

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