Eve to Lilith & Lilith to Eve

By Michelene Wandor

These poems were published in The dybbuk of delight: an anthology of Jewish 
women's poetry (1995). Thanks to Nora Lee Mandel for bringing them to my 

Eve to Lilith

      don't get me wrong - I have nothing against first wives

      ok, so you laid him
      first; that's merely
      a fact of life
      so you got to know
      all his little habits, like
      picking his nose
      when he reads in bed

      but he didn't do that with you?
      I see

      I'm not jealous. I don't
      believe in jealousy, and what I don't belive in
      doesn't hurt me. But tell me
      honestly, what did you do to the poor man?
      He's a nervous wreck.
      He can't stand up to his boss, he has
      pains in his side all the time -
      I mean, something must have happened
      to leave a man
      so scarred.

      He told me how beautiful you were.
      The dark, dramatic type.
      Usually he doesn't talk about you
      but when we - well, long ago -
      when - at night -
      we - in the dark, always -
      he used to call your name
      at a certain moment

      It's none of my business but you must have done something very special
      to make a man remember you so

Lilith to Eve

      I merely said 'no'.

      That's when he gave me
      his attention
      for the first time

Lilith's Dance

      Lilith sins?

      Lilith sings
      Lilith speaks many a cross word
      Lilith has an anger like love
      like a procession of pillars
      of fire
      Lilith has the delight
      of a woman scorned
      he modelled me
      I was his clay thing
      into me he breathed life
      I became his golem
      I went forth and I destroyed
      havoc my middle name

      I am the dybbuk of delight
      I slip into the souls
      of those who need me

      perhaps you breathed
      just a little
      too much life, a sniffle too long
      but once tasting the air
      I would not be still, not
      be silent, not return
      to my feet of clay

      I will not gather dust
      I do not cower beneath cobwebs
      I do not fear the hot streets
      I walk
      in the middle
      of the pavement

      I do not hug the shade
      of cowardly buildings
      I do not stay in my ghetto
      but I strut and stride
      into the ghetto
      of men
      I interrupt
      the invisible universal
      which denies men their souls
      and women their being

      I do not creep

      I do not crawl


      I am proud

      I have taken the cloth
      from my mirror
      of mourning

      for your birthday
      (if gods have birthdays)
      I shall give you
      a mirror