The Trouble with No Trouble

How to write of paradise,
that too perfect garden?

Its symmetrical pathways
and untroubled light.

Were Adam and Eve bored?
Can joy come of nothing,

pleasure from pleasure
without knowing pain?

Can a life thrive
without tensions,

a poem, even a word?
In the beginning,

before their eyes were opened,
did the first couple

prefer not to see?
In Eden no light shined

without somewhere a shadow;
no calm came without first

a chaos. Contradiction
simmered under the stones.

Under clod and pebble,
a welter, a worm.

And another version
of the story.

Paradise? Not really.
Not a fixed place

but an aperture of time.
A transient gleam

on the river.
A wink in the story.

Still, in the mind
there is always a garden.

And in the world, there is
always some trouble,

a betrayal,
someone’s pain––
We seed
our own fall.
A snake will lie waiting.
He is part of the deal.


About the Author

Richard Brostoff’s work has appeared in Rattle, Texas Review, Atlanta Review, Epiphany, Gulf Stream, The Anthology of New England Writers, Confrontation, South Dakota Review, River Oak Review, The Distillery, Owen Wister Review, Contact Quarterly, Hawaii Pacific Review, Cumberland Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, Wisconsin Review, Eclipse, Red Wheelbarrow, Southeast Review, Willow Review, Whiskey Island, Magma (London), Verse Daily, and many other journals. He won the grand prize at the AEI International Poetry Festival, the editor’s choice for the Robert Penn Warren Award, and was a finalist for the Iowa Review Poetry Contest. My chapbook, “Momentum,” was published by La Vita Poetica (Atlanta, Georgia, 2007). A second chapbook, “A Few Forms Of Love” was published by Finishing Line Press (2012). He has been part of the dance world for a number of years now, and perform new dance and contact improvisation. He is also a physician and studied medicine at Duke and Harvard.