Bursting Bubbles and Other Myths

*Inspired by The Garden Of Earthly Delights by Bosch

Bursting Bubbles and Other Myths

by Adele Evershed

We float blithely in our glass bubble / naked and sore and full of wonder / believing you can’t have too many lies / oblivious of the fading blues and pinks / the dulling of the lime greens / we don’t even notice the darkly rat / crawling like mold into the pipes / or the many, many sharing a single blackberry

And on the side of the pool / just wanting to be adored—Wisdom / she offers cherries and peacocks / and maybe redemption / as she balances on the edge / while we walk barefoot round and round the garden / like clockwork mice / longing to be wound down

But then a student from a Christian college / transcribes the music from a tortured soul / being squashed by a harp / in Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights / and posts it on Tumblr / for everyone to admire / they dub it / ‘The 500-Year-Old Butt Song From Hell’ / and suddenly / returning to the garden starts to trend on Twitter 

Then Wayfair offers bargain bucket reproductions / with free shipping / but without the pane of Hell / so we can ornament our barren walls / and provide a tidbit at our next dinner party / alongside the charcuterie board / with fig jam and a garnish of blackberries / that sit in the bin at the end of the evening / like so many bruises

And Wisdom hangs over us / still waiting / like a Strictly Come Dancing hopeful / to get a kind word / for her pasodoble / you see / and I think she always knew / the world might turn / but we would rather click on / and on / and on / in twisted adoration / rather than worry / about bursting our own bubbles

Adele Evershed was born in Wales. Her prose and poetry have been widely published in journals and anthologies such as Every Day Fiction, Grey Sparrow Journal, Anti Heroin Chic, Reflex Fiction, Free Flash Fiction, Gyroscope, and Janus Lit. Adele has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net for poetry, and the Pushcart and Staunch Prize for short fiction. Finishing Line Press published her first poetry chapbook, Turbulence in Small Places. Her second collection, The Brink of Silence is available from Bottlecap Press and her novella-in-flash, Wannabe, was published by Alien Buddha Press in May. Adele won the Open Contract Challenge in 2023 and will have her short story collection, Suffer/Rage published by Dark Myth Publications.