kicked myself out of paradise

left a hole in the morning

no note no goodbye

the man I lived with

was patient and hairy

he cared for the animals

worked late at night

planting vegetables

under the moon

sometimes he’d hold me

our long hair tangled

he kept me from rolling

off the planet

it was

always safe there

but safety

wasn’t enough. I kept nagging

pointing out flaws

in his logic

he carried a god

around in his pocket

consulted it like

a watch or an almanac

it always proved

I was wrong

two against one

isn’t fair! I cried

and stormed out of Eden

into history:

the Middle Ages

were sort of fun

they called me a witch

I kept dropping

in and out

of people’s sexual fantasies


I work in New Jersey

take art lessons

live with a cabdriver

he says: baby

what I like about you

is your sense of humor


I cry in the bathroom

remembering Eden

and the man and the god

I couldn’t live with

Reprinted from Lilith and Her Demons (Cross-Cultural Communications, 1986).

The Passion of Lilith

On the other side from order,

the unintended bride,

one part gasp, one part express,

careless of symmetry, regardless of time…

What had the likes of me

to do with the likes of Adam?

Yet by after-whim

or black humor of Him

we were thrown together, clay

sun and glaze of moon—one

real garden with imaginary

goad—spitting image and spat upon—

Adam named and I with pseudonym:

man plus manifold, sure to explode

belief and make-believe

alike, alone.

Then Adam nearly drove me

mad—my original gaping

letter-man, docile as a stamp

and bland as logic,

flapping forever the divine right

of his real estate

at my obvious lack

of properties…

I tried at first to please,

opened my box of miracles for him;

he only wanted to hoe the peas.

He wanted his birds in his hand.

All mine gladly beat round the bush.

I wove an arbor, bindweed

and angels’ bane;

he wouldn’t enter in.

He wouldn’t lie under my crazy quilts

or improvise. He’d rather die.

He had the Word,

had it from on high, while I,

previous to alphabets, superfluous

as ampersand,

curled on chaos still, my edges blurred.

Gardens are made for orderers,

gardeners made to order,

but I am disorderable, the first trespasser.

So as Adam was carefully hedging

his beÆtes

and hugging the hedge,

and while angels were

warring and setting

God’s teeth on edge,

misfit and mislaid, I fled.

I gave a damn.

And I left my first love sucking

his green thumb.

This excerpt from The Passion of Lilith is reprinted from In Light of Genesis (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1980).

Lilith (For a Picture)

Of Adam’s first wife, Lilith, it is told

(The witch he loved before the gift of Eve)

That, ere the snake’s, her sweet tongue

could deceive,

And her enchanted hair was the first gold.

And still she sits, young while the earth

is old,

And, subtly of herself contemplative,

Draws men to watch the bright net she

can weave,

Till heart and body and life are in its hold.

The rose and poppy are her flowers;

for where

Is he not found, O Lilith, whom shed scent

And soft-shed kisses and soft sleep shall


Lo! as that youth’s eyes burned at thine,

so went

Thy spell through him, and left his

straight neck bent,

And round his heart one strangling

golden hair.