Eve, After by Laurie Rosenblatt
1. Eve, After
After what? After there was light?
After first sight, the orchards in rising mist,
limbs upraised in black on white?
After waking unidentified, a bent branch
pruned from the tree? After the rough bark splits
retreating beneath my smooth new skin? Who am I
My desolate cry provokes you
to create again,
to create him.
Then his sons beget those old gossips
who get the story
2. About Adam
His passion is to categorize. He names
things, splinters objects from being. The rabbit
divides from the jackal, obscurity from fame
no from yes, the fig from the pomegranate,
the locust from the bee. In this way he tries
to invent me as the apple of his eye.
And, wanting to please, I learn his labels (useless
to the continuous world). So, he concludes,
She’s a fool, and casts a name my way.
Oh that I might let it slip from me like skin.
Instead, I come like a bitch when he calls. He pricks
and mounts me for display. They will say
I was weak, but that is only to say I carried
my love in my cupped hands like an unfledged bird.
Look how the light lies coiled on the leaves of the pear,
the apple, the plum, the apricot then shatters
into scales when touched by wind. Beauty swarms
the ruined fruit and enters my body like water,
my bones like oil. No viscous tongue lisps
in the grass. No practiced argument captures
me. Luminous, the apple’s burnished flesh
teaches desire. I ache with appetite
for the unique, the subtle, the poised restlessness.
Turning away I falter, let the light
brush my lip, my nape, my arm, my hip,
casting its intricate webs of choice.
Mottled I am, and mixed: an agent now fused with fault.
4. Place of Unlikeness
The willow, yellow in spring,
lashes over me. My words
they lie apart twisted
as the cherry’s fallen branches.
The light defines, illuminates,
estranges, and transfixes.
Adam dedicates himself
to white lies,
to the stained sheets in the bed.
Time. And again
I come back
seeking and spending for love.
Long divided from you, I become
a lucid outline rather than
the knowing darkness
that meets the in-turned gaze: You are not
you to me now.
But radiance reveals
absence in me.
And before dawn the unspeaking speaks
more and more often, telling me
it is time to let my days
feed the layered emptiness that Is
If I hold out my upturned palm
will you alight?
© 2005-2009 Per Contra: The International Journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas