In this version there is no Adam
never was. There is an Eve
—we’ll call her She. And there is a panther
—black, shiny-furred, yellow-eyed, soft-padded panther who paints
hieroglyphs in the air with his tail because Eve has had enough of all this bliss
and frankly, she hungers for a bit more complexity.
In this version there is no God and no apple. There is a serpent. He lies
coiled at the base of her spine and rises up when she sings. He drapes himself
around trees. He doesn’t give a damn about propriety and
doesn’t believe in Truth: only Daring.
In this version She wears moss panties because they’re soft, not because of shame.
She grows her hair to her knees because She likes how it tickles
under Her buttocks. It gives Her ideas about togetherness.
She paints Her face to become another
tries on manhood for a day or warthog-hood or blob-fish-hood. Once She was
a pink flamingo and loved to balance
on one foot, grasses eddying and tickling, the crunch of damselflies, the breeze
fluffing up Her feathers.
In this version the panther sleeps 22 hours a day, as large cats are prone to.
He is Her bodyguard, his claws so sharp he’s never needed a toothpick.
He is faster than an aurora borealis but he dozes off because he understands
what She needs: not security, but ideas.
In this version She is the Creator. She makes
pomegranates when She’s hungry and
poems when She’s lonely.
When She’s frisky She makes French maid outfits. She makes
her bed in warm mud. She makes babies and sniffs the curdled milk on top of their heads,
then sends them off to play in the tops of trees. She makes
things that play music when the wind plucks their strings, She knits
socks with the more robust algae. She invents wheels
for Her moped and espresso machines when She gets tired
of the country. But mostly She walks,
and talks, and prances about a world that enchants Her because it is not Hers,
was not made
in Her own image, and doesn’t need
(painting by Lucien Levy Dhurmer)