Photography © Edward S. Gault


The Snake King’s Lament

In the olden times, a few coils around
the tree would have been enough
advertising to get them to listen.

The words were easy. The ways were clear.
The fruit tasted forbidden, and the path
to the tree was right. Some say the woman
was easy. She was first. The man would have
done the same in the same time. It’s people.
People are easy.

The sole soul sold remains, but the receipt
doesn’t belong to me, nor to the other guy.
The advertising is much more

Flaming swords couldn’t keep me away, of course.
The scruples of the screwtape are on record.
The fall from grace could happen every day,
so many times a day,
if only people could hear my sales pitch
over the din of all the others.


Bill Abbott is a poet, writer, and creative writing professor at Central State University in Ohio. He is the author of “Let Them Eat MoonPie,” a history of poetry slam regional competitions in the Southeast in the 1990s, and “(My Life and Other) Famous Train Wrecks of Ohio,” his first book of poetry. He has been performing poetry on stages for 30 years now.

Edward S. Gault is a poet and fine art photographer. He lives at Mosaic Commons, a co-housing community in Berlin, Ma. He has a wife Karen, and daughter.