The Birth of Night

The earth was without form, and void;
and darkness was on the face of the deep.
--Genesis 1:2

When the earth was merely a lump of phlegm
sticky in the hollow of God’s throat,
silence wheezed and I was born,
dark and clean, a black breath sucked deep
from an empty space in his lung.

It was I who swallowed the sun,
who woke before the orange-red blush
ripened in the leaves of trees
where fruit hung heavy--
I who carved the edges of the moon,
who sharpened stars like teeth.

Gloriously divided from light,
I was the world’s one dark element,
long before the shape of Man
blinked in a red puff of clay
and Eve’s pale-fisted body squirmed
in the bony womb of Adam’s rib.

--from Prairie Schooner