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Ash Bowen

The Other Version of Eden

Lovers' Reunion at the Univerity of Arkansas

My Daughter Tells Me Green Is the Color

The Other Version of Eden

The humans wanted answers so I invented

some:  In the beginning, there was hydrogen.

I aired the planets up and strung the sky

with strips of twinkle lights.  I poured the dark

into the day and let there be night. 

A day was like a thousand years and then

one passed. They saw how slight my sleight-of-hand

had been—the moon a pie pan on a pulley,

the birds just feathers fastened to a line. 

They faulted one another for this deception,

wondered if they were even married. I ordered

them to the wilds to fix for their failing marriage:

She’d pull him to her private garden and strip

the apple down. Together they would share it.

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Lovers' Reunion at the University of Arkansas

Sometimes Fayetteville lives in me

a moment longer when you mute

the room with your walk. Tonight,

each step is a slender syllable

through history’s winter, where after

wine and weed, you tug

your blouse toward heaven and rise

in me a language like God’s original.  

Your waistband brailles a love letter

around the brim of your body. My fingers

fade into the flesh of translation. Oh, the words

your ribs rub out of bones. I revise

you over and over with soft sentences.

A hundred times we make noises

like love in the hills above Old Main,

love so loud we startle the snow awake.

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My Daughter Tells Me Green Is the Color

of God. Without it, we’d have to lie down

in aqua pastures. She’s reading a book

about Crayola’s obscurest colors: English

Vermillion, Permanent Geranium Lake,

the changing landscape of American

palettes. She claims its thesis is our dreams

dull each time we reach for them,

the crayon the metaphor for tools to fill

the empty spaces in lives we envision.

Each picture pinched under a refrigerator magnet

makes us a minor god in lower paradise.

She edges her finger over the box’s every row,

quizzes me on every color. When rain

threatens, we fuss over a fresh pack.

Magenta—always the wallflower, Fuchsia,

so cold.

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Ash Bowen’s poems have appeared in New England Review, Kenyon Review Online, Best New Poets, Best of the Net, Verse Daily, as well as in his first full-length collection, The Even Years of Marriage (winner of the Orphic Prize). His current manuscript has been a finalist for the 2020 Crab Orchard Series Poetry Prize and 2020 Lexi Rudnitsky Editor’s Choice Prize. He lives in Colón, Mexico.

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