Put your money in Eden, I said.
In a few years the Lord will experiment.
When the man and the woman go at it and pop
out some children, those groves will appreciate fast.
(Only Lucifer wouldn’t invest; he had plans
to develop it secret from us.) We own most
of that derelict garden, all gone to the weeds
as it is. But the angels won’t honor our deeds,
cultivating its disrepair with niggling
____________There are so many times
I have turned in my pitchfork and muffled my horns
with a top hat! I’ve been had by Second Comings
more than once and pulled out of the racket too early.
No promotions for me: I still poke at the stoves
like a baker and grimace at sinners beside
upstart imps, I, one of the original rebels.
wrong on people as well. They wouldn’t be stupid enough
to put God on the cross, I assumed. Giving him
such a tearjerker story, enough to persuade
any jury to call him not guilty. They fell
for it, all of them. I could have sworn
they were shrewder than that. Even the boss
was surprised: Near the end, much too late,
he tried coaxing the Son to the edge of a cliff,
something no one would witness, anonymous, one
more forgettable death.
_____________My biggest mistake,
though, I made with the rest of the guys.
Looking back, sure, it seems like a dumb
thing to try. Overthrowing the Father! Dissolving
his hierarchies of archangels, seraphs, and cherubs!
Maybe Lucifer wouldn’t have ruled
all that differently from God, just a switch
of the tyrant. Back then he was lovely, however.
Not like now, with the hoof and the horns and the teeth.
It was easy to mix up his beauty with truth
and God’s age with weakness. But I have
to admit, at the start, when it seemed we might win—
after being eternal for so many years
it felt good to be young.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.