Saturday, October 06, 2007

Lillith (An extract)

No ancestors to pray to, asking where this temper came from. What did he use, First man thought, scratching the tough skin of his thigh, what mud did he use to make her?
He sat crouching, berry in mouth, slow juiced, watching two dragon-flies touched tight flying together exuberant and mad with lust. Dragon flies. A moment ago, squirrels against a throbbing tree trunk. Bees. Ant-eaters. Zebras.
He gazed, frowning around the unfurling opening blossoming green around him. It had been six months and everything was still singing as if the eighth day had just dawned.
It made him sick.
And she wouldn’t help him forget.
Mouth over his chest, her hand wrapped around a throbbing part of him he still hadn't found a word for, he had gasped and tried to push her down, and join the frenzied life around him. Dragon flies. Squirrels. Bees. Ant-eaters. Zebras.
What mud was she made of? He knew where he had come from. They had told him of water-on-dust, carefully brought to shape. He knew where he came from: he had walked by there often. Fine mud from the river bank, good for seeding... staring at it, watching a tiny mustard stem thrust towards the sun, feeling his own skin surge. But he didn’t know where she was brought from.
He had found Lillith huddled with the wolves. He was impatient, annoyed. He had been promised a companion, and she hadn’t arrived. He went looking in the place they told him she had last been seen. They all lay together in the cave’s mouth, waiting. Her eyes glinted with theirs, watching him approach.
She stayed silent a lot. Watching everything with a grave expression. The dripping of first honey. The squeals of the first cub born to the lioness that littered under the rain tree. The first dead moth. The first blood stains on her leg that the mosquito left for her in remembrance of his little prick. Watching him silent as he groaned and spewed his
dragon flies. Squirrels. Bees. Ant-eaters. Zebras.
She watched him as life and newness left imprints on him like deer traces in grass. She watched him as he touched and tasted everything: the angry fire ants, the river that bubbled and grew with each rising sun, its banks growing wider apart.
She watched him, staying silent. Yet she would bare her teeth, scowl and warn him away if he came where she didn't want him.
A frustrated animal, he paced the entire length of the garden everyday, carrying a stick. Sometimes he would bring her a flower, a smooth pebble. Sometimes a nest. Once, a butterfly still trapped in a chrysalis. Which she had pried open, watching it spread its legs and flutter to life. At these moments she smiled, and he watched her: muddy feet, her thin tight breasts. He would think that maybe if he did this more often, she would smile more, and not bite.
The first attempts at negotiation began in Eden.
But such times were rare, even he accepted that. At night she would return to the cave, and they would sleep at the mouth of the cave to watch the stars-- it wasn't cold enough to seek further warmth.
Then, the leaves and birds began changing. Some flew-- where did they go? What coast did they know about?-- fruits stopped ripening, and the ground grew icy and cold. At night, he would seek her side, sometimes, in his frenzy at having cold toes and knees he would grab her close. She would allow this, until he began taking advantage of the darkness and then she would scowl, kick and bite to keep him away. Sometimes he was tired, and ashamed at his inability to be dragonfly, zebra, or lion, would turn to face the cave wall. Other nights he would try to overcome her. He wondered what clay she was made from. Perhaps it wasn’t mud. Perhaps she was made from hard like granite rock, when the hands that molded wished for a greater challenge. Their yells, her screams of rage rent the night sky. Crow shifted his head under his wing, nodding to himself. The man was an idiot. The woman had a brain. He would speak with her tomorrow.

Crow and Worm
The morning sun filled the sky, waking Crow and Worm. Each stretched his body out towards the rays to dry the dew of the night, which had collected over them like a thin blanket. Lillith passed by, Lillith in her long hair. Crow shifted on his branch, his face already old, carrying the scars of his great adventure. His eyes followed her. The worm, being the great mouth that he was, had already begun singing to himself. Crow shook out his wings, and flew after her.