The Snake in the Garden Considers Daphne

My less erotic god condemned
my taste for girls less classical
than you, the kind that can’t resist
a dazzling advance, or trees that stand
for love. Of course, I understand
up there it seems to be all light
and prelapsarian elation— but bear
in mind your lower half that gropes
for water, the slender roots you spread
in secret to fascinate the rocks,
while sunlight pulls apart your leaves
and flights of birds arouse the air
around you. If only I could run
a brazen hand along this wood
and feel your heart accelerate
beneath it, rising to your lips.
If only you could pick the whitest
petals from the holy orchard
where I patrol the crevices
and slink along my damned gut,
you could arrange them as you wished
and change the ending of our story.
But we’re disarmed, and nothing changes
in our natural gardens—we cannot grasp
the word hope, which the ones we’ve tempted
find always at their fingertips.