genesis by billy collins






It was late, of course,

just the two of us still at the table

working on a second bottle of wine


when you speculated that maybe Eve came first

and Adam began as a rib

that leaped out of her side one paradisal afternoon.


Maybe, I remember saying,

because much was possible back then,

and I mentioned the talking snake

and the giraffes sticking their necks out of the ark,

their noses up in the pouring Old Testament rain.


I like a man with a flexible mind, you said then,

lifting your candlelit glass to me

and I raised mine to you and began to wonder

what life would be like as one of your ribs–

to be with you all the time,

riding under your blouse and skin

caged under the soft weight of your breasts,


your favorite rib, I am assuming,

if you ever bothered to stop and count them


which is just what I did later that night

after you had fallen asleep

and we were fitted tightly back to front,

your long legs against the length of mine,

my fingers doing the crazy numbering game that comes of love. – billy collins



photo credit: art by meredith o’neal

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