The Book of Eve

I tell you temptation was cool
As a string of pearls in my hands.

It wasn’t the apple, peach,
Or apricot (the color of flesh & mouths)
It was the prospect of touch
That caused me to reach out.
But what did I, fresh-born,
Fallen from the realm of mythology,
My feet still sunk in silvery clay,
Know about desire?
Only that the word seed
Stemmed from it,
That all of nature
Seemed to be ripe with it.

It’s alive inside you,
An entity with a will of its own—
Who are you when desire
Steps into you
But its own vision?
Eyes polished by the sun,
Hands ready to touch a newness
Familiar as your own heartbeat.

It’s skin hunger.

For although we are whole as beings
We are half of something always
And crave the mystery of that other side.
You must dance with Desire.
All the while
Trying hard to concentrate on other things.

I tell you it was tender.
It was patient and soft,
Asking for direction.
A strange place it brought me to
With kind music
And colors out of a dream.

And He, although a stranger
Whose rib I’d departed from,
Was my shelter.
Mouth and hands I wanted to return to.
How could it be otherwise
With the clear God-pattern
Drawn on our palms
Like crib notes.

It wasn’t the new world and everything in it,
The winged leaves and colored sky,
The animals in all their curiosity.
Nor the serpent with the slow groove
Of persuasion moving in the branches.
It wasn’t the new world
That called to me—
It was Him.
And out of temptation,
That young disease,
I answered.

The first touch was sharp,
Disturbing places
Foreign inside me.
It was the color of warmth,
Stained me like blood on white cloth.
The cotton-white doves
Trying to deliver peace
Had told me about this,
But they were mute about the burning,
The feeling of fire setting in the belly.

No voice spoke out about this.
I was first—
The one pushed out in front of it all
To navigate in the dark,
To taste but not be filled.
I was the initiator, initiated.
It was easier
To reach out, to grasp
Something solid, whole, sweet.
And because of me
They gave these palpitations a name.

And this was the curse,
The prickly womb-nest,
The uncleanliness pinned to women—
That She could lead you into dirty waters
Blindfolded, stain your hands
With blood—that She
Was supernatural
And could turn a man to seawater
In her hands, let him scatter
If she chose him to.
She could deafen you with silence.
She could make you devour
Your whole existence
With temptation.

She could make you go mad
With wanting
To eat out of her hand.

— Corrine De Winter

Corrine De Winter is an author and Stoker Award Winner for her poetry collection The Women at the Funeral. Her inspirational writings have been published in many journals, (her poems “Bless The Day”, “Bedside Prayers,” “The Language of Prayer,” “Teen Sunshine,” etc., continue to be used in traditional church services, ceremonies, and on many websites). She has won numerous awards for her writing from the New York Quarterly, Triton College of Arts & Sciences, and The Rhysling Science Fiction Award. Her work has been applauded by such luminaries as William Peter Blatty (The Excorcist), Tom Monteleone, Thomas Ligotti, Nick Cave, Stanley Wiater, Heather Graham, and others. William Packard, former editor of the New York Quarterly, was a mentor publishing De Winter’s work early on and inviting her to write “The Present State of American Poetry,” a regular feature in the journal. At Packard’s invitation, she read her poetry at the New School in NYC, and continued a rapport with Packard until his passing. Packard was a big supporter of Charles Bukowski, and De Winter was published with him several times in his last years. A naturalist, philanthropist, metaphysical seeker, artist and the founder of “Small World Fund For Children,” Radio Host for SUPERNATURAL RADIO, on the website, De Winter lives between this world and the next.

Image Notes: “In The Garden of Eden” by Kasia (Flickr) under Creative Commons,