Before the rib

July 13, 2021

Before the rib,
         before the man in need of help,
                  before swallows, sperm whales, & cows,

before trees made with seeds
         & pollen released in the breeze,
                  before honey bees & butterflies,

before lavender, azaleas, & lilies,
         inkberry holly & burning bushes,
                  before rain & cumulus clouds,

before the river, the earth watered itself,
         underground streams
                  rising to the surface, radiating

green on floors no one
         but God walked upon,
                  & before all that, the heavens

hung heavy with an airborne sea
         waiting for the right words
                  to spill from his lips, willing

to empty themselves of all they owned,
         words waiting to right
                  the sea-lipped, heaven-hung air,

before anyone was floored by green
         but God, risen & radiant,
                  surfaced from streams 

within the earth, before cumulus
         rivered with rain, bushes burned,
                  berries inked holly, 

before lilies, azaleas, & lavender,
         bee-pollinated
                  in a butterfly breeze,

released their honey like seeds from trees,
         unlike cows, sperm whales, & swallows,
                  unlike man, who needed help, before the rib.