Poem: Original Girl

She was like a baby before the encounter.
Hypnotized by colors, the taste of fruit,
cool juice running down her wrist.
The air was like a swaddle, soft,
temperate. She was as naked as
the snake, anything she saw
she picked and ate.
She was the only woman in the world
with no mother. When the serpent
undulated, shimmering,
she tried it. Before, she was bare
bones with light in between
a song with no sound
a vibration hung sweet and rough
in the air. When she walked
with Adam she saw
where his missing rib
should be. And after-
they were covered
in garments of skin.
She listened for the hum
but heard nothing.
Her throat was dry. She unlaced
her new legs like a ribbon
and began to hunt.


Poetry Editor Alicia Ostriker comments:

In this poem a dreamlike, sensual, mystical depiction of Eve “before,” is contrasted with an “after” in which she and Adam are covered instead of naked, and the “song with no sound” is gone. What has happened? The final line of “Original Girl” is a shock, but I think the skins which cover the once-innocent pair are a clue: an animal has been slain to obtain the skins. From now on, Eve will perpetuate the slaying of animals; perhaps that is the real loss of innocence.