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This poem is part of our 2015 fund drive bonus issue! Read more about Strange Horizons' funding model, or donate, here.

This is how it was for Lilith, first-born
human daughter of the Lord, first wife
to a man whose name was mud:

She was born into the orgasm of life,
the entire world stroking her towards devotion.
Thereafter, she spent the rest of her existence
searching for the exaltation of her first breath.

She thought that Adam had felt it too—that he
recalled the rapturous breath of God upon his skin,
remembered standing in the glory of Creation,
filled with the ecstasy of living. She hoped
that together they might reassemble
enough parts to make the whole of it,
to recreate the awe of entering the universe.

But he did not know, and he did not remember,
and his idea of pleasure was so small it bored her.
And that was why she had left Adam and the Garden
behind: he did not remember the feeling,
any more than he could redeliver it.

Every time she returns to Eden, after years
of searching for slivers of satisfaction, she sits
beneath the Tree of Knowledge. She touches
herself, eating of its many fruits: peaches, mangoes,
pomegranates, and figs. She is trying to find
the one that will teach her how to return
to the Beginning.

Julia Burns Liberman is an artist who lives in Malden, MA with three hockey players and a large collection of rocks. Her art can be viewed at This is her first published poem.
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6 Dec 2021

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