Emilia Phillips

Creation Myth

for Bill Root

I wouldn’t drink from the creek next to my house
that runs like a vein of old blood
to the Tennessee. Somewhere in Kentucky,
a poet is leading his congregation
in a service for the Church
of Elkhorn, but there’s no god,
just a low mist standing in for the Holy Ghost,
just kayaks and wet suits on Sundays, and the day’s
collection taken from Byron or Shelley. I ought to be
thy Adam, the creature says to Frankenstein,
but the creature was never as pretty as the Adam
on the walls of the Church of the Holy Trinity
in Hrastovlje where a fault line waits beneath
its stone, waiting to open the earth like a bloom.
As a child, my grandfather ate dandelion
sandwiches, just weeds placed between Wonder
bread, when there was nothing else. I sat in chapel,
as a child at an Episcopal school, watching the rain, wanting
the school to flood until we were stuck there living
off of communion crackers and paddling the halls
in our canoes made of church pews. Even now,
as I sit on the bank of the creek, I root my feet
into the cool sludge and mud and touch
the healed rib that was broken years ago.