Poetry by Cait Quirk

Goddess of fire

When Eve discovered fire, she rubbed her
hands together with such force that the
bark remnants of tree-climbing leisure
ignited with a spark that was to define
the course of human history.

In an attempt to create heat without
metabolizing the forbidden fruit, she merged
safety and sin with a single splinter.
Under the primitive glow of promise,
Eve glanced at Adam and felt sexual attraction
for the first time, his eyes dancing with amber light,
both reflection and awe radiating between blinks.

They made love–or, rather, pleasure–
to inaugurate an era of tamed warmth.
Afterwards, Eve lay on her side facing the fire,
maximizing the surface area of heat, while
Adam lounged behind, tracing the faces of flames
with an index finger over her nipple.
Eve lingered in bodily intoxication, thinking,
“This is how I earn my name. I will sufficiently
bestow what is yet to come.”

In the following months, Eve’s appetite grew from
the size of a fig’s seed to that of a date pit.
She abandoned the hearth to scavenge for food,
yet couldn’t peel pine nuts nor pick huckleberries
fast enough to satisfy the starvation.
When she returned to her fire, exhausted from
days of searching for the edible, a heaping pile
of mammals dotted the flame-scape.

In Eve’s absence, the animals eased into curiosity
and comfort. Enticed by the essence of embers,
they crowded the emanating pit sneaking one paw
closer every day. When the slew of squirrels, foxes, and
deer accustomed to the singing of skin,
they embedded themselves deep among the
scorching wrath to avoid a night of deep black cold.

By the hour of Eve’s return, the animal hide had been
consumed as fire fuel, and the smoking meat
clouded the air with the aroma of lust and a full
stomach; although the two were synonymous and
the craving of woman turned her to carnivore.
She knew these beings as kin, yet olfactory instinct
reigned supreme, relieving the upper abdomen thump,
though the pounding in her lower belly increased.

That night, Eve sung to flames the way the moon sings
to each tidal wave, vis a vis a cool breeze.
In the maternal sense of a woman who has sinned
and suffered and still felt her heart alive,
Eve told the fire that she had already given
birth to humanity by joining oxygen and fuel
in an act so provocative, she would be remembered
as the giver of life.

Cait Quirk

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