Creation Story

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

to be.

(painting by Lucien Levy Dhurmer)


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