After Eden


Understand this, if nothing else: that she
had only known him darkly, fragmented
like shadow under leaves. That she was free.

That she had only seen his sleep unsaid
in flecks between his eyelids; dark as storm
between the lightning; thin and strong as thread.

Perhaps at night the sighing owls swarm
eagerly round him; perhaps in his heat
the trees reshape their bodies to his form

and curl their fragile roots around his feet.
Perhaps he falls like hailstones through trees,
or crashes frightened through his dreams, the beat

and boil of blood rushing like rain to freeze
inside his head. Under his eyes there could
be crossings still subsiding as they breathe

the breath of one man only.
                                          Know this: good
felt natural to her. Some few things she knew:
his hands were cold as silver. When he stood

like moonlight in a clearing, he was blue
as angels, tall as gardens, faint as stones.
You must believe this: that her ribs still drew

their light from his. As if a mountain groaned
and rose beneath her in one morning, this
unusual, lifting sun inside her bones.

About the author(s)

This poem won second place in the BYU Studies 2001 poetry contest.


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