Lucia Walton Robinson

 

 

ADAM AND EVE IN THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE

 

                   i. on the Blackwater

 

A snake uncoiled from an overhanging branch

we barely dodged as we skimmed a sinuous bend.

The sun grew fierce, the water chill, transparent

brown as tea, unveiling a sandy river bottom.

Two egrets stalked nearby as our church group

paused near a shaded bank to slake parched throats

and baking skin. Paddles dipping in perfect unison,

a deep-bronzed youthful couple angled past,

lean bodies regal in folded newsprint sunhats

and faded t-shirts from a Red Cross blood drive,

provisions in plastic grocery bags between them.

“Rednecks,” another parishioner snickered,

but their beauty sprang straight from Genesis 1,

their voyage perhaps a wedding trip, balmy

nights spent twining on soft half-moons of sand

cradled in horseshoe curves of tannin-tinted river.

 

 

                 ii. on Perdido Bay

 

Ecstatic as a hummer in a hibiscus’ throat, I nuzzle

your soft-furred arm, peer past it to the frisking bay

where the breeze takes a last swim before the sunset

quiets it to opal. Sapphire wings light the sparkleberry.

Though I’ve not seen his like before, I know him:

he is First Bluebird and I First Eve, new-created in that

sunwashed paradise. I need not rouse you to see,

magnificent Adam, for you named him. He preens

the apricot feathers of his breast and chirps, his song

less beautiful than ours; the music we’ve conjured

will outlive this day though our love be threatened

as the Perdido Key beach mouse, oddly monogamous

tiny creature burrowing, unlike his common kin,

far from human ephemera. Sky flames out redgold

as the bluebird arrows from his branch toward

the deceptively lovely field of pitcher plants.

 

 

            iii. by a pond near Boggy Bayou

 

A few days after I drove past the pond to market,

the weekly “mullet wrapper” pictured a long-married pair

settled in low beach chairs to fish the dappled water,

plumped by decades of biscuit-and-gravy breakfast,

between them an ancient cooler and battered thermos.

Green plastic visors crowned the two gray heads,

hers wrapped in coronet braids, his sparsely veiled.

Had the photographer missed it, or frightened it away?

When I passed by, I’d braked midstreet to marvel

at the improbable threesome gathered in liveoaks’

moss-laced shade–blue heron towering on his stilts

not four feet from the seated grandmother,

awaiting catch the venerable lovers likely share

as faithfully as the great bird and his mate

shadowed our wayward parents out of Eden.

 

Born a Hoosier, Lucia Walton Robinson holds degrees from Butler and Duke Universities, has lived and worked in Manhattan and Florida as a book editor and English professor, and now lives near her daughter, an editor and poet, in southeastern North Carolina. Some of her work has appeared in The Penwood Review, Kakalak, The Road Not Taken: A Journal of Formal PoetryThe Southern Poetry Anthology, Vol. VII, and elsewhere. Half a life spent in the South has in no way loosened her strong Midwestern roots, which the woods and lakes of Minnesota and Michigan helped nourish.

 
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