These two poems by Jaclyn Piudik and Janet R. Kirchheimer are modern interpretations of the expulsion from the Garden of Eden and a re-visioning of the Biblical Creation story…
by: Jaclyn Piudik and Janet R. Kirchheimer
Seduction: Out of Eden A planting amidst silver-powdered vapors fades wistful; rivers ignite, set apart, branch into a traverse bridging line to lapse. Incendiary rufflings respire through steam-streaked traces, biding rhythm. Fetters of entangled vines cajole presupposition to forsake isolation, engender name-giving clemency. A vocabulary, vertebrate, awakens, unrelenting in its restless infatuation. Verily stir splinters, sepia'd movements: collaboration inures. There, in words, in apposition, questing commences, rivals emerge, call out. Dictum inculcates, inebriates nothingness into anima; a gradual piercing through boundaries of sun and self. A chronicle of sleep. Taken from essence, nexus without volition, a leaving begins. What unfurls, what unsettles in consciousness? New lexicon rips open atoms and sinew to extricate disguise. Subtle reservoirs allow undulated thought: brushed by knowing. Visor and vigil give way. Beckoning to one another, ideas seek dwelling in onomastic serenity, uninhibited integument. Eros eyes delight, closes then opens, sews a garment. In the cool of afternoon, hidden fruit anticipates telling, a garden filled deep with novel yarn and yearning. Veneer falls from tissue, from portent to dream mechanics, rousing warm exhalation. It was good, it was evil, temptation for sight. Leaves, stitched to proximity – a voice withdraws, becomes hamsin, a rush of days. From above, grains feed thunder, foist thought for procreation. And from below, a centrifuge skims blind refrain into gradual echo hidden among trees. Where, where? Urging for tonality, obedience, a precept that divides ardor. Naked aspiration assigns blame, bows charisma into shame-bound blush. One layer of skin sloughs into down, falls upward in praise. A second melts, coagulates, girds itself with twindom, a fearless apprentice. Arrayed in the spoils of negligence, questions abound; answers remain desolate in their fervor. Implicated in testimony, they conceal, they are exposed. A scrape of knife against breath, incision into innocence. Softening mocks fictionalized encounters between fabric and hide. Sibilance breeds narcotic beauty, allures a pronominal sounding misfortune. A scattering of enmity will not begin to heal; it chastens, crawls, and curses. The world takes its shape in gravitas and labor pangs. What fertile rondure will bequeath its molt to nourish humus and human? What organic abundance will elucidate a footpath of pain and travail as it begins to taint passion? A crush of rule hearkens expression and thorns. Thistle-whisper is heard in the field, the din of a quiet motion that slackens mindful prophecy. Comfort comes in future tense, awakening regret for what might have been: a taste of immediacy for tomorrow's writhing. The ground, reedy in its rupture, brushes off return, offers its hand, forever alive in unrest, in secret contemplation; shade copulates with light and montage breeds its own favor. A single vertebra, a question of symmetry, pleasure in judgement's bark. Tilled from the taking, concealment impregnates opposition. A shattering drives them out with a shudder, ecstasy turns leaves.
Creation, Redeemed Textured whirlwind, eastwind, leeward, sunders into garden. Windless perfection, the rustle of inquiry leaves only remnant of blossom and benediction; moonlit desire ravages primeval: fetters of weeping clothed in shelter as serpents reign rough, bemoaning Adam. Curled vines lace while clotting into eve, unweathered, whittled from blood-bound dusk. With a naked flush of apotheosis, tangled oracles and gardenia petals knit themselves mortal, coined into creation, into man. Alone, he drowses in vertigo’d dreamstate under bough, leaf, fruitful only in a bittersweet waltz with reflection. Clothing himself in rarity, he discovers the warm cloak of hunger; rivers of beguilement flow into a paradigm of wanting. Elements pursue enclave, palpate with the mother of living things. Eve exchanges shallows, sears adaptation, a commingling of garb inside this hushed nursery. Shame among roots in the garden anoints an end to youth, condemns monochrome leaves, shapes a plait of grief. Vanity is devoured by this man of the ground. Buried in stasis, awash in silence, prudence cannot cleanse him of the thunders that tear through marrow, armature. Inchoate thirst abrades, tattoos essence and extern with restless slither. Fronds ripen his mourning for ideation, first beauty. And she, Eve, is revivified: storehouse, progenitrix, a garden embodied as replica. Layers of dismay become her mantle, reflect falsehood: a shattering, primordial in its claim to vestment. Emergent twinning, back-to-back, separates, offers the man of dust serpentine sanctuary cleaving to mirage. Cursed into conservatory to reveal a poultice of youth, fissure converts rapture into a thesis that lifts and heals: the snake, the merging of Eve with the man. A semblance crawls on its belly. Radiant, it stalks through the syntax of union, to take refuge in temporality, leaves pain, impermanence. Flesh stitched to flesh. Ravished threads disembodied fall in rhythmic intervals. A-slink, astounded, woman bowed under heavenness suffers no repose. Her intimate, Adam, writhes, too. Knowing cycles, revolutions in divine longing, they are propositions coiled together, asserting limb and greenery. Wound-inflected prayers, a hush hovers at the edge of the garden; jagged shards of anatomy scar and twist, clothed in their desire, a labyrinth of eloquence. They mouth their names anew – Eve, Adam.
Janet R. Kirchheimer, author of How to Spot One of Us (Clal, 2007), is currently producing AFTER, a cinematic documentary in which contemporary poets perform and explore what it means to respond to the Holocaust and genocide, including Edward Hirsch, Cornelius Eady, Alicia Ostriker, and more. Her poems and essays appear in numerous print and online journals, including Atlanta Review, Natural Bridge, Mudfish, Connecticut Review, and String Poet. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Janet received a Drisha Institute for Jewish Education Arts Fellowship in Biblical Hebrew Grammar and teaches creative writing.
Jaclyn Piudik is the author of To Suture What Frays (Kelsay Books 2017) and three chapbooks, the corpus undone in the blizzard (Espresso Chapbooks 2019), Of Gazelles Unheard (Beautiful Outlaw 2013) and The Tao of Loathliness (fooliar press 2005/8). Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including New American Writing, Columbia Poetry Review, Burning House and Barrow Street. She received a New York Times Fellowship for Creative Writing and the Alice M. Sellers Award from the Academy of American Poets. Piudik holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from the City College of New York and a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto.
Header art is by the extremely talented French-born artist Sebastien Boileau.