Nicholas Biel         ADAM

          by Nicholas Biel


On the third day I was dust, ordinary common dust
like you see on a country road in a dry spell,
nothing expected of me,
me expecting nothing neither.

On the sixth day he comes along and blows.
"In my own image too", he says,
like he was doing me a favor.

Sometimes I think if he'd waited a million years
by then I'd been tired maybe being dust
but after only two, three days,
what can you expect? I wasn't used to being dust
and he goes and makes me into Man.

He could see right away from the expression on my face
I didn't like it so he's going to butter me up.
He puts me in this garden only I don't butter.

He brings me all the animals I should give them names--
What do I know of names? "Call it something," he says,
"anything you want," so I make names up--lion, tiger,
elephant, giraffe--crazy but that's what he wants.

I'm naming animals since 5 AM, in the evening I'm tired
I go to bed early, in the morning I wake up,
there she is sitting by a pool of water admiring herself.

"Hello, Adam," she says, "I'm your mate, I'm Eve."
"Pleased to meet you," I tell her and we shake hands.

Actually I'm not pleased---from time immemorial nothing,
now rush, rush, rush; two days ago I'm dust, yesterday
all day I'm naming animals, today I got a mate already.

Also I didn't like the way she looked at me
or at herself in the water.

Well, you know what happened, I don't have to tell you,
there were all those fruit trees---she took a bite,
I took a bite, the snake took a bite and quick like a flash---
out of the garden.

Now I'm not complaining; After all, it's his garden,
he don't want nobody eating his apples, that's his business.

What irritates me is the nerve of the guy.

I didn't ask him to make me even dust;
he could have left me nothing like I was before--
and such a fuss for one lousy little apple
not even ripe (there wasn't much time from Creation,
it was still Spring), I didn't ask for Cain, for Abel,
I didn't ask for nothing, but anything goes wrong,
who's to blame?....Sodom, Gomorrah, Babel, Ararat...
me or my kids catch it,, flood, pillar of salt.
"Be patient," Eve said, "a little understanding. Look,
he made it was his idea, it breaks down, so he'll fix it."

But I told him one day. "You're in too much of a hurry.
In six days you make everything there is,
you expect it to run smoothly? Something's always
going to happen. If you'd a thought first,
conceived a plan, consulted a specialist,
you wouldn't have so much trouble all the time."

But you can't tell him nothing. He knows it all.

Like I say, he means well but he's a meddler and he's careless.
He could have made that woman so she wouldn't bite no apple.

All right, all right, so what's done is done,
but all the same, he should have known better,
or at least he could have blown on other dust.



(originally published in Winter 1959-1960)

© 2001, Nicholas Biel

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