They woke in a wood of leaf overlapped by leaf.
Eyes unfocused, they saw all things and none
in wakefulness not yet distinct from sleep.
Their uncombed hair twisted in rays of sun
wrapped about their heads in crazy wreaths
of light and dark completely interwoven.
Their feet touched earth, the same dirt on their feet
that covered earth. They were a man and woman
still intimate, like plants, with the soil beneath.
As quiet as the grass, the two were dumb,
wordless when they heard the rustling leaves.
The beasts, by wing and foot and fin, had come.
The cats twitched tails, the serpents hung from trees,
and frogs squatted among the loosening buds
of lotus flowers, all waiting patiently.
The names began to drop off one by one,
one word fell out to pair with every beast,
until a parallel world of words was done.
With words they knew to tell each life from each,
and since the eyes are pupils to the tongue,
they began to see as syllables would teach.
They saw each line take on new definition,
as if cut from its background in relief.
For named, this was a form of liberation.
For namers, though, the names brought limitation.
They knew their world and from this they knew grief.
By names their lives were bounded and made brief.