Excerpts > Fall 2003

Valerie Wohlfeld
Three poems


Always in shul I watch the little blue dove
that someday the building fund will replace with white glass.
All the light-tinctured lead-paned saints,
always dying in some other glassy world,
have been turned already to white window glass.
I watch the dove that has always flown among hosannas.
Out in the grass beside the sukkah a bird flew up to the dove,
hit and crashed its head and fell beside the poles laced with pomegranate.
How small the anonymous brown dun bird, when we buried it.
Always I watch the blue dove
the blue dove with a thorn of glass of brighter blue
and slivers of glass for wings—
how among stones and fires and shattered glass
a dove like Noah's first dove without home or olive leaf,
might fly—and wonder how does a dove fly
out of sparks of glass and hollow bones of wings?
I watch the quiet dove,
the blue dove who flies and flies
for over a hundred years
now in a church, now in a synagogue,
the little dove that seems to fly forever from diaspora to diaspora.


That rib Eve wove herself out of
arthritic in rain, foreign to the body's sanctum?

Serpent: curving rib cast-off—
scaly glitter and hoar—

dybbuk's uncoiled vertebrae,
flexuous maze of whorls?

Deaf, all snakes—
that rib exiled from body to body, silent,

—as even serpents' blood helix-wound
round veins, was not made to hear?

Fire and Flux

The miry-drenched wooden rib
to sleek and articulate the shoulders
and neck of the pot:

turning tools incised upon the body,
cured in fire and flux,
chemist-crackled colors;

upon the whirling wheel
turned, pulled, trimmed,
liquid-glazed kiln-banished:

like Eve placed beside the cassia-bark tree,
the potter's voice never again
among the resined branches.

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