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Adam and Eve in Later Life by Howard Nemerov

April 28, 1991

On getting out of bed the one says, "Ouch!"

The other "What?" and when the one says "I said

'Ouch,' " the other says "All right, you needn't shout."

Deucalion and Pyrrha, Darby and Joan,

Philemon and Baucis,

Tracy and Hepburn--if this can happen to Hepburn

No one is safe--all rolled up into two,

Contented with the cottage and the cottage cheese

And envied only by ambitious gods . . .

Later, over coffee, they compare the backs

of their hands

And conclude they are slowly being turned

into lizards.

But nothing much surprises them these days.

From "A Howard Nemerov Reader" (University of Missouri Press: $24.95; 534 pp.). Although Nemerov is known primarily as a poet, he also has published numerous novels, short stories and essays; the full range of his writing is represented in this volume. 1991 Howard Nemerov. Reprinted with permission.

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