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Tamara Kreutz

Falling from Grace

Have you eaten from the tree?

—Genesis 3:11, NKJV

Squatted behind the clay geranium planter
I plucked sprigs of clover, twirled each trinity
of perfect green hearts between my thumb and finger.

My mother told me not to eat plants scavenged
from the soil—they could be poison or
covered in dog pee. Though I couldn’t resist

the clover, how it tasted like rain, lemon, and green
apples. I placed it sprig by sprig on my tongue,
crushed its waxy skin with my teeth.

My mother’s shadow cast its net over me.
Are you doing it again? Her finger slid
between my lips, pried

open my mouth—I buried the clover
beneath my tongue, swallowed
my lie, Huh-uh.

The seed took root, sprouted.
Its vines twisted through my belly—
my first taste of sin.

While outside of me, my mother’s eyes,
magnified by aviator glasses
stared down the abyss of my throat.

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