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Painting by Phyllis Kriegel

Stepping from the blackness and blood-red hollow of the tree
—–she juggles—not one, but five
———————————-round apples. Beside her, Adam
—–whirls clumsily in mid-air—
————————————-hips over head, arms and legs
—–askew—as if he, too, had been tossed up
into the blurring spiral.
—————————–He tries to steady himself with a foot-
like hand against the trunk, his hidden face at eye level with
—–a single glowing fruit
——————–cradled in the open palm
————————————-of her right hand,
his mouth seemingly at her fingertips. Red head tilted toward
—–him, she looks down at the gift
———————————-from the corners of her squinted
eyes, superior in her new knowledge.
——————————On her lips, the seed of a smile. …
While in the bottom right corner, half out of view, shrunken to
—–half their size, a featureless flame-red devil
————————————–leaps away, serpent’s disguise
shed, his work undoing here—for the moment, at least—done.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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