The image of Eve
Made me smile,
Gave me hope,
Let me dream of what would be.

Eve was one-dimensional,
An archetype,
A myth,
Had no face,
Existed only in my mind.

She was a shadow
In the space you would embody.

The first time I saw your face,
I knew you were not Eve.
The photo showed:
My daughter has a face,
A laugh,
A question.

I do not miss Eve.
She kept my mind occupied
While I waited
For you.

Thank you Eve.
Your job is done.
Now off to another waiting mother.
She needs your comfort
And excitement.
I belong
To Ella.

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Alison Aucoin is descended from people who spent their weekends dressing up in costumes and taking silly photos of one another to send to relatives who were serving in the Pacific during WWII. She makes her living as a freelance grant writer but is much happier squeezing playdough with her two year-old Ethiopian daughter, creating photography/audio projects, crafting manifestos on her blog (http://endebetehyemhoneyelem.blogspot.com) and making costumes with her trusty glue gun. She is one of only about a half dozen Cajun Jews in existence.

21 responses to “Months Imagining Eve”

  1. Zara Potts says:

    What a wonderful mother you must be, Alison.
    And how wonderful that hope became real.
    xx

  2. Simon Smithson says:

    “Thank you Eve.
    Your job is done.
    Now off to another waiting mother.
    She needs your comfort
    And excitement.
    I belong
    To Ella.”

    A moving spirit, perhaps?

    • Alison Aucoin says:

      The name Eve just happened to be the one that I chose for my daughter then saw her pic & realized it wasn’t right but I think all waiting moms have little people they imagine who slip away when the real child arrives. Lots of waiting moms in the world so maybe it’s a platoon of them?

      • kendra bober says:

        That is a beautiful thought, Alison – from the moment we first meet them, we realize they will never be at all what we thought before their arrival, and show us one way that imagination fails to provide even adequate wonder and complexity. But there must be many many of them because it happened even the second time around, and also for two others who didn’t materialize in this world. Thank you…

        • Alison Aucoin says:

          Nice to have confirmation that phenomenon occurs when giving birth and not just adoption. I figured as much but obviously haven’t experienced it myself.

  3. Irene Zion says:

    Lovely, Alison.

    • Alison Aucoin says:

      Thanks Irene. I take that compliment highly. After all, I think you’re the senior mom around here AND it wasn’t funny.

      • Irene Zion says:

        I like funny things, Alison, but I like reading sad things and creepy things and mysterious things. I pretty much like everything, but, you’re right. I do like to laugh.

        • Irene Zion says:

          WAIT!
          I forgot to say the appropriate thing here.
          (duh.)
          I love to read beautiful things and things about love and mystery and happenstance and the fitting together of puzzles.
          I probably forgot something, but I’m old, so deal with it.

  4. Uche Ogbuji says:

    This heartfelt number reminds me of the golem, the crystalline, geometric form brought to quarter-lit life by the aleph of legend. And then when we’re lucky, the truly divine reaches into our days and substitutes for the golem the real thing. That is the truest blessing, and you express it with a love that breathes its own fire into your words.

  5. Alison Aucoin says:

    Yup, you got it completely!

    I actually read this poem last night at monthly poetry reading at the local library. It was well received, maybe even better than it would have been with Ella joining me (loudly) in the last two lines.

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      Sorry, just to be clear you meant “without Ella joining me…”? I guess I’m wondering whether Ella did join you in that way, which would be just precious beyond precious.

  6. Alison Aucoin says:

    Oh joined me and yes, she is in fact precious beyond precious.

  7. Gloria says:

    This is so beautiful. And made me smile and cry a little. I’d never really thought of Eve as the place hold for Our Daughters. But perhaps that’s just right.

    • Alison Aucoin says:

      Actually, Eve was the name I had chosen for my daughter to be & then I saw her photo and realized that it was all kinds of wrong. Until I wrote the poem, I never thought of ‘my Eve’ as ‘THE Eve.’ Weird how stuff likes that happens when you share your voice…

      I’m really happy that you enjoyed it Gloria!

  8. Lenore Zion says:

    i don’t think eve’s job is ever done. i don’t really know what that means, i just said it cause it was the first thing i typed for some reason. maybe cause they always say a mother’s job is never done, and this is such a sweet, motherly poem that i thought of that saying. anyway, i really like it. reminds me of summer. but that could be because of that vaginal cream “summer’s eve” that i always see at Rite Aid.

    yeah, i’m no poet, but i thought this was a lovely thing.

    • Alison Aucoin says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks feminine hygiene when I think Eve. I considered that when I chose the name for my future daughter but decided that I liked it anyway. Was all psyched about Eve Aucoin until I saw the photo of my daughter & thought, NOPE, wrong name. Perhaps she dodged a bullet when she got Ella?

  9. Carl D'Agostino says:

    Biblical Eve got humankind kicked out of the Garden you know.
    However, if I sat on the jury then, I would have voted “not guilty.”
    The preponderance of evidence leads me to conclude that
    humankind kicked God out of the Garden and she is not
    responsible for our collective arrogance. Her vindication lies
    in the fact she remains birth mother bearing the promise of
    tomorrow.

  10. Alison Aucoin says:

    I prefer Rabbi Kushner’s take on the story: Eve certainly was responsible for eating the apple but being banished from the Garden of Eden is what makes us uniquely human. She ate the fruit from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” The fruit gave her (and us) consciousness. We became separate from animals. We received the gift of true free will and that separated us from God. Like in ‘East of Eden,’ Timshel = Thou mayest.

    Do I suffer existential angst about the Gulf oil spill, war in the Middle East, genocide in Africa at a level my dog could never experience? Yes I can. Would I trade places with him? Never! (Okay, maybe sometimes. The bastard has a pretty plush life with me as his owner; )

    Was Eve responsible? Yup. Was she guilty of a sin? In my opinion, no.

  11. Carl D'Agostino says:

    Just an aside: The Gulf oil spill you mentioned. I live in Miami. It’s going to be the end of the world here. Our own permanent Chernobyl. 12 minutes to the beach. What beach? The turtles have started washing up. I really like turtles. Will eliminate at least a million jobs here.

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