Wednesday Poem: Eve’s Protest

Men insist I shouldn’t use my body to conquer
them when men have been using me
to look at loneliness less directly. I solve
their endless wars; I’m a rack to hang
headless hats. Is it lunacy or resilience
when something breaks but we keep on
pushing through it? Like the body, becoming sacred
is an act of love or self-deceit. Just look at Adam
wrenching out his rib for me. Things haven’t changed.
Lonely people are still desperate and busy
being loud about it. I would know.
I’m shapeless as a fledgling flattened
having surrendered all my bones.
Look, all I wanted was someone
I could show my wretchedness to, someone
who would be there, loving. Or else, I wanted
to feel winter coming and not feel like an animal
who’d forgotten to wake up. Do I really have to say it?
Even the sequoia tree’s leaves will redden
to ash, proving nature and God are good
at showing us all the ways we’re wrong.
Tell me, what woman hasn’t been
tempted, porous—only wanting
what she wanted. Do you blame me, Lord?
I’m only doing what you’ve done. Made a man
suffer then surrender before I let him love me.
If I was wrong to die for pleasure, so be it.
If I was wrong to make my man aware of his body
the way wind is aware of its shapelessness
only after a locomotive blows through a tunnel
and cleaves its loud nothing into more
billowing nothing, then I accept
what damage, brightness I’ve caused.
I know I’ve said this already
but I mean it: Once, I was good.
Now, standing by the pier, the sky opens up
in late-night light like a scab unwilling to close
and I admit, part of me is still like you, Lord.
Some days, I’m tired. Some days, all I want is to
eradicate the earth. Instead, a man I love enters me
slow as light stabbing its way through to morning.
O God, don’t refute this. I know your rage
is fueled by jealousy and your jealousy fueled
by sadness. You wish you could hold a body
like this and understand what I mean when I say
it was worth it. All of it. Yes, it was worth it.

–by Isabella DeSendi
from Rattle #84, Summer 2024

Isabella DeSendi: “This poem was inspired by, of course, the first woman in biblical history to defy God’s law in favor of sex, companionship, desire. I wrote this piece during a time when I felt deeply frustrated with religion and its constructs around womanhood and purity; I was tired with all the people and forces that were imposing their rules on me. Although this is a persona poem, Eve’s story is one many women can relate to. I hope this poem offers a new perspective from Eve and showcases a voice that is defiant, autonomous, but tender—and yet, still finds (and chooses) love.”(web)

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