The Arty Semite

POEM: 'Lilith’s Quilt'

By Lynn Levin

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Older, moonswept no more
Lilith saw bed as a place to sleep
but sleep abandoned her
like the millions of guys she’d had.
Every night she tossed and turned
with memories of her God-awful sex life—

the lovers who woke up terrified
dumped her out of the sack
mocked her desire.
Did a man ever live who could mix
with her body and soul?

To court slumber Lilith began to stitch
a quilt, a gift for her bed.
Each morning she gathered
scraps of colorful fabric
appliquéd scenes of the good life—
families at supper, workers at work,
weddings, births, kisses in the park.

By afternoon squares of human happiness spread
before her like the funnies in the newspaper.
Her scenes itched for a little disappointment.
But how much disappointment
did the good life allow—
a setback once a season,
a letdown once a week, once a day?

Lilith drove herself nuts with self-doubt.
Just before bed, she would take
a seam ripper to her beautiful squares
then collapse on her sheets.

Every morning, same story.
Lilith got up craving sleep like caffeine,
purple purses under her eyes.
She would gather her scraps
of colorful cloth and pat her bed.
“Old friend,” she would say, “this time
I will finish the quilt
and then we will sleep like lambs.”

From “Miss Plastique” (Ragged Sky Press, 2013)


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