Two Poems

Gail DiMaggio

Original Rain

In one version,
the first water on earth is still
the only water on earth, 

alien molecules, carried
from the stars by asteroids
and transforming ever since:

vapor to ice, broken to healed, pure
to poisoned. Back again.
But in another version, rain began

with Eve beside a river
we can’t find anymore. Eve, 
who understood her choices

and wanted wilderness.  
So God, in a fury, 
made a storm, let it pour, and Eve 

lifted her face
into His new, original rain,
so she could brush from her lashes 

the same cold drops that course
the back of my neck. That bead
our hair, streak 

our beloved’s arms, drip
from the tips of our children’s
fingers. Today, almost-snow

coats the road, 
and over the rush and drum
of the river, I tell my daughter

Eve’s riddle: 
What stays sweet till
the first bite, costs a little more

than you’ll ever own? What is that
pecking at the dream-ground? Sleek,
black wings. Glittering eye.



What Eve Might Say

the prophets say sinful
meaning me
meaning I am full of sin
because I didn’t obey and trespassed
and gorged on all that fruit
they hate the thought of it
the juiciness the syrup
running down my chin
and then they tell each other
about the snake about my lust
for the snake
the way I let him
enter me with his words
my loins loosened
at the sound of him, 
they say
I wanted his narrow words
licked his sleek scales
truth is I barely saw
that mottled creature
blinking stupidly in the sun
what if I told them, what if I said,
I lust all right
but for a man, for a man’s voice
shoulders hips hands
sweet knowing hands
what if I said the snake
never spoke a word
and I
stole the fruit anyway

Gail DiMaggio lives and writes in Concord NH. Her work has appeared most recently in Salamander, Slipstream and the Tishman Review. In 2017, her book, Woman Prime, was chosen by Jericho Brown for the Permafrost Poetry prize. It has just been released by Alaska University Press.