the exile’s return
In the sea-lapped waves you roamed. Across years
you roamed – war years, love years, blood years – any
place that knew of the moon’s pull and the clits
and cunts and the sweat-kissed thighs of lovers.
I have looked for you in Sumeria,
Babylon and Persia. I have hunted
through Canaanite lands; talked to the Hebrew
and Teutonic tribes. Everywhere your love
was a sin, your books burned, your name a curse.
Lilith, lover-mother, exile, fire-haired,
she-demon of the wasteland. If no one
will declare devotion to you I must
do so now and if no one will write books
of splendor for you I must write one now.
In Sumer you were called Lil, storm spirit.
Among the Semite tribes you were confused
with the word for dark night, layil, the source
of all erotic nightmares, nocturnal
orgasms. In Syria they called you
Lamashtu, the child killer, the Winged One,
the Strangleress. You were Adam’s equal,
wife of the devil Samael and the king
Ashmodai, the Queen of Sheba, female
of Leviathan. You were old Yahweh’s
consort while Shekhinah was in exile.
All this you were, but today all these names
are meaningless: Impure Female, Night Jar,
Dame Donkey Legs, Vixen Spirit, The End
Of All Flesh, Harlot, Mi Bruha, Yangu
M’chawi, Al Basti, Midwife, Bitch, Witch.
Everywhere I looked I found you. Across
years and in the sea-lapped waves. In these clits
and these cunts brimming and overflowing;
in this simple form of prayer; in gushing
devotion sticky on my chin, giving
all of us both the sweet and the bitter
and the proof of all this is on my lips.
There is pain here but this marsh is wide, thick
with dune grass. Fill your hips with my moonlight.
I have followed your tracks, lit deep blue flames
to guide you here. Like the tide you must come
soon. We’ll burn the sun in the firmament
with the hurting fire we call desire.