Poetry Sunday: “Eve Recollecting the Garden,”
by Grace Bauer


Eve Recollecting the Garden

Was it your nakedness
or the knack you had

for naming I learned
to love? Crow, you whispered

and wings flapped black
as satin in the sky.

Bee, and sweetness thickened
on my tongue. Lion

and something roared beneath
the ribs you claimed

you’d sacrificed. Our first quarrel
arose about the beast

I thought deserved a nobler tag
than Dog. And Orchid

a sound more delicate. Admit it!
Dolphin, Starling, Antelope

were syllables you stole
from me, and you

were the one who swore
we’d have to taste those blood

red globes of fruit
before we’d find the right word

for that god-forsaken tree.


From The Women at the Well, first published by Portals Press (1996) and republished last year in a 20th-anniversary reissue by Stephen F. Austin State University Press. First published in Poetry. Published with permission of the author.

Grace Bauer’s most recent book of poems is MEAN/TIME, published by the University of New Mexico Press in 2017. A 20th-anniversary reissue of her groundbreaking collection The Women at the Well was published in 2016 by Stephen F. Austin State University Press. Other books include Nowhere All At Once (winner of the Society of Midland Authors Book of the Year Award for 2015), Retreats & Recognitions, and Beholding Eye, as well as several chapbooks. She is also coeditor (with Julie Kane) of the anthologies Umpteen Ways of Looking at a Possum: Critical & Creative Responses to Everette Maddox (Xavier University Press) and Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse, just out from Lost Horse Press. Bauer teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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  • Kelly Cherry January 20, 2018 at 10:57 am