After Paradise

After Joel Sheesley's painting of the same name.

Everything in its place,
the carefully ordered refuge
from a chaotic world
radiates routine.
A jail-bar striped comforter
locks away passion.
Bare floors, stripped and buffed,
reflect the veneer of paradise lost.

Firmly contained and framed,
the reminder we once cavorted naked
without shame,
reveling in our sexuality,
mocks the austerity
of the room.

The serpent was half right:
knowledge of good and evil
leads to half death,
beyond salvation,
beyond hopes
of utopian dreams,
shedding illusions.

Closet doors slightly ajar
promise a glimpse of hidden skeletons,
a glimmer of still-breathing vitality.
Sneakers and slippers,
floundering boats in a placid sea,
offer the scent of hope,
hint at the vibrancy of a morning run,
the sensuality of an evening tryst.
What might we yet become?
A paradise found again,
for the first time.

©2016 Kenneth W. Arthur