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First Taxonomies

by | Nov 24, 2021

Of course Adam exhausted himself.
He named: fig, fern, orangutan, mica, mayfly,
and then clouds, cumulus and nimbus,
Aardvarks, apiaries, aphrodisiacs, apples
naming by alphabet or phylum:
vegetables: rutabaga, beets, and artichoke.

He turned, looked up. Eve! it’s Eve!
He stared at freckles on her nose. He said
to himself freckle. Aloud he said: Eyes, your eyes
iris, pupil. She stared back.
Why do you look at me like that?

 Don’t turn away.

He named stones, and the bones
in their feet and Eve stamped hers
with I’ve had it, Adam! and her breasts jounced,
areolas, nipples—oh, nipples. Suddenly
she was under the tree with the snake, ( serpent, viper,
asp) and she was talking, gesturing: arms,
hands, tarsals, metatarsals, opened mouth
tongue, mandible, bicuspids, and lateral incisors.

Adam ran an inventory and Eve
grabbed the apple; the snatch made
the leaves shimmer, threw the snake out
of its coil. Juice dribbled down her chin.
Adam caught his breath.

What has she done? What is the word?
A name for it? He couldn’t say.

He had no name for wrath, for vengeance,
for the future. He puzzled over Eve

standing there waiting for him to look
to look at her, to see her. She offered
herself and the bitten fruit
and holding her, he tasted its sweetness
on her lips, then the salt, the slip of her damp skin.
He spoke the parts of her with his hands,
Oh, unspeakable joy beyond
all care and the toll of knowing.

Nora Hutton Shepard

Nora Hutton Shepard is a poet and alumna of N.C. State’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing program, as well a graduate of the MFA Writer’s Program at Warren Wilson College. She taught poetry courses at N.C. State before relocating to Davidson in 2019 to be closer to her daughter’s family. Nora has quickly acclimated to life in Davidson and is a wonderful addition to our Community.

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