Early Knowledge


by Anita Sullivan

In paradise Adam stubbed his toe on a rock.
It bled and bled, until, at the snake’s suggestion
he wrapped it in a poultice of dampened leaves
from the Forbidden Tree, thus gaining
through osmosis
a wholly different kind of knowledge.

After Adam’s foot healed he
could walk across hot coals and not be burned.

Everywhere the family went outside the walls
the sun was local,
already had a name like Hank
or That-Which-Makes-Rocks-Steam.

The moon too, and most of
the animals had different names
than the ones he first gave them.

But with his new knowledge
Adam could go deeper.
Earth, Air, Fire, Water – he broke them down
into smaller and smaller parts:
electron   proton   Higgs boson
neutrino    quark. . .

In his final decades
Adam went over to naming horses
thus assuring an endless supply for future races.
Eve would find him
evenings
under the village bougainvillea
reciting into his beer
                        Black Caviar   Asteroid   Crucifix
Awesome Feather   Bustin Stones   Queen’s Logic
Wounded Knee. . . .

Eve took a lover from one of the Nephilim.