Of All Things Pure


Phillip Williams

Excerpt from poem Of All Things Pure”


Genesis 3:19 "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."


I   Adam's Epiphany


You too are a waste

among pilfered things

Pallid flesh crumbled

in wrapping paper of sunset.  Mourning

a gift's absence


An abscess of fragments ashing

a grave.  A mound of ants cupping

their dead in curve of mandible. Consider

your presence a dynasty of space. Capture

sound, your own echo congealing in soil-

blooded hands.  You are sand


Flecks in a comet's wilting ray


Blooded hands, you are sand,

sound.  Your own echo congealing in soil,

your presence a dynasty of space. Capture

the dead in curve of mandible. Consider

a grave: a mound of ants cupping

an abscess of fragments, ashing


A gift's absence

in wrapping paper of sunset. Mourning

pallid flesh, crumbled

among pilfered things

You too are a waste







II    Inquisition of Eve


Imagine the Tree

Brown feminine body

A giant clown in green headdress

Before there was memory.  Leaves loud with fruit

Forbidden as the meeting of our genitals after the first bite

Nectar drips past your teeth, your mouth a shrine of seeds

I never asked you to marry me. To bind your borrowed rib

With fruit membrane, its pit's skull labyrinthine as a fingerprint 

Never asked you to think for yourself that evening or listen to what slithered

In your then useless womb.  A tomb of hastened bone

Remember sibilant voice of scales sighing

Against bark. Remember the color of rattles

Like shells tipping his vertebrae.

Did he promise you timelessness?

Did he promise he would

Bestow a rib

Sternumless, unfixed?

Perhaps he promised

To expand his jaw


A bite


His fill


The space

Where even you

Could not hide



Of knowing, yes



What that unbroken

Circle below

Was for