Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel
shows an adolescent Eve behind God the Father
—evidently conceived of before her creation.
Someone had the last word.
Far-gone son of the Enlightenment?
Or ruler in the Middle East? Does it matter?
That gap, that synapse between God’s grasp
And Adam’s inclination widens.
Angels buckle themselves to the task
As Adam slackens his left leg,
Nearly losing his balance.
Is the lilac fabric held aloft
Paraclete or tempest tossed?
Astonished, inchoate Eve attempts a termagant wail:
“Before this billowing mantle unravels
Down to the very ragged ends of its fibers,
Take another arm, for God’s sake. Here! Here!
Take a wing! For one more iota out of reach,
There’s neither parasang nor Persian;
Neither angstrom nor light.”