A poem by Naomi Adedokun: ‘the undone and the divine’

the undone and the divine


have you seen adam’s wife

cute little thing. quiet.

i shook her hand, thought i was going to break it.

i felt like i could reach into her breast,

and pull out a rib


(this is it. the snake in the garden.

the eden apple.)


you know you are not the first

there was another


her name lingers in your mouth like a taste you just cannot get rid of

all adam will say is that she was WILD

the pointed look he gives you speaks more words than his own

(she was WILD, and you will not be)


sometimes you think:

i should like to meet this lilith

– you imagine tracking her down in some seedy bar in a part of town your neighbours would gawk at

– you imagine catching her gaze as she dances seductively on a dirty stage

– you imagine looking up at the bartender, whose arms have bible scriptures tattooed from the gentle curve of her shoulder, over the sharp elbow edges and down to the calloused tips of her fingers

– you imagine lilith slithering into the bar stool next to you, her unforgiving gaze ripping into your powder pink dress like she knows who you are

– you imagine the red red lips of these women, these liliths, curving into scythes, and gravelly voices, deeper than you could ever imagine, asking if you wanted a drink


at night,

when adam has exchanged consciousness for the Sandman,

and there is no light to expose your sin,

you allow yourself, finally, to think of lilith’s lips against yours, her redness coating your bare mouth

you think of her hands clawing that awful dress away, and those bumpy callouses cupping your breast

you think of lilith between your thighs, above you, below you, on you, becoming you (and you becoming her)

you think of the two of you wrapped around each other, gloriously naked, and you tracing the holy words inked forever on her skin, murmuring amen into the air


in the morning,

an alarm will scream that it is time to make adam’s breakfast,

and you will shed those nightly thoughts to become eve again


but when your husband kisses you goodbye,

(his mouth as bare and flat as yours)

you think of lilith:

adam’s monster-under-the-bed,

your salvation


Illustration by Billie Gavurin


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