Lilith Speaks to Adam
Just when I am on my way to becoming,
My eyes open and you are there.
Is Eden large enough for the two of us?
Wherever I turn,
there are branches pulling at my hair,
Earth between my toes and under my tongue.
I slither and sometimes I use my wings.
Let’s slither together.
(ADAM: “I’m working on my posture…”)
Earth becomes dirt becomes dirty.
Bent knees turn into corners.
Am I not right for this world?
Before you, I did not know I was I.
Now this I is part of my unbecoming.
Man Alone in House
Does this empty house invite the outside in?
No one told him to be fearful.
Asleep almost, he listens to the bones of the house.
His breath just constant.
Between two thoughts —
Wetness creeps across skin like glue.
Seed is stolen.
Lilith plays thief tonight.
By the window, by the door,
Wings bristle lightly against branches.
Morning sunlight taps groom on shoulder,
A day of ring exchanges.
Paper signing, blood marks.
Bride will dance seven circles round him.
Each revolution strengthens the wall,
Closes the window,
Shuts the door to the thief he knew the night before.
Breathless before so many eyes.
She careens to a stop,
Foot hits glass,
Tiny shards spray across ground.
An owl perched on a tree above
Blinks, shivers and flies into a cloud.
At last, nine full moons leave bare
The dust against the sky.
Air fills up with brightness.
A clumsy baby drops.
Dice on a betting table
Or rich, ripe fruit atop worn grass?
Mother Speaks to Baby
I’m learning to read all over again,
a face, this time, connected to a body.
At first, I feel your story from within–
Nose rubs against belly, elbow prods groin.
Your silent cough becomes
a confusing dip and bulge.
You speak and I struggle to translate.
I lie on my side, talk to myself,
rub my fingers across my skin, from left to right.
I read out loud,
and I hope you can hear me.
I’m learning to read all over again
but this time I have a teacher.
A smile comes over your face.
Lips flutter, flutter, quiver, turn up to touch cheek.
I know, am told, have heard — that
in the dark, under your cradle,
there in the empty space of dust between
I catch the reflection of my face in her eyes.
I am a snake, a spider, the flame of a burning sword,
a feather that tickles at the nape of your neck,
broken glass and nakedness.
I touch your nose and her spell is broken,
something lost and nothing gained.
For a moment your head swishes between ears,
to say no, to resist and then to sink into
nothing more than a pillow.
No Kingdom There
(Inspired by Isaiah 34)
Streams turn to pitch.
Soil into sulfur.
Night or day, a pure dry thirst.
Vines twisting upward,
gnarled and gray,
soon become tomorrow’s smoke.
And still, the hawk and the hog possess the dying tree.
The owl and the raven drop down to lower branches.
In the distance, nailed to a post, the words:
This Begins the Line of Confusion
“No Kingdom Here.”
No bosses, no princes, no popes.
Only splinters tearing skin,
and thorns inside doorways.
Only wildcats gnawing at hyena necks,
and jackals lurking in the wood.
While all the goats called Evil cry out
Here too Lilith will lie down
and find a place to rest.