Uriel By Gabe Pry


He bestowed you your cinereous blade,
tore you from your friends, your life,
and said,
—Guard these gates. Let no man pass through.

for centuries,
you did as He bid; you
fought any who sought entry,
defended the perfect place
that they were exiled from.

then someone came: another
regular man
but where the rest had come with
swords drawn, commands
and demands pouring from their lips,
he asked only
—can i come in?
and when you said,
he nodded, thanked you,
and left.

he kept coming.
day after day, he walked
up to you, to ask only
—can i come in?
day after day, you said,
but still he came.

he introduced himself as gabriel.
—Like the angel?
you couldn’t help but ask.
he laughed,
—not like the angel

his visits grew longer.
he brought lunches.
—do you eat?
he asked as he unwrapped crisp sandwiches.
—what do you eat? do you eat from the garden?
—No. I guard it.
—what do you eat? do you want a sandwich?
and you didn’t know why, but the answer seemed obvious to you:
you didn’t know
how he wasn’t named after an angel.

he made you question. he made you
want to put down your sword.
you asked He who appointed you,
—Can i let him in?
—Humans have sinned. They must pay the price.
you argued; it has been centuries,
millennia, since the sin; they’ve changed, grown, learned.
what’s the point of guarding an empty garden?

the day came when you
decided you had had enough.
millennia of guarding a garden
full of fruit you couldn’t eat,
empty of anything worth protecting.

you laid down your sword in front of gabriel
as you said
—enter if you want. i’m done
—i don’t want to. not without you
that day, as he left, he left
with you at his side
an eternal guardian, not for a garden,
but for him.

the garden of eden stands undefended
and empty.
not because nobody is allowed in,
but because nobody wants to be.

By Gabe Pry

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