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 Poetry, The 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.