- Bejeweled, and: Lot’s Daughters
Adam was created with a dual image and was later separated into two bodies—man and woman.—Adin Steinsaltz, The Essential Talmud
Adam and Eve once one being: could that fruit beckon four hands to drip its juices down joined faces—
a forward and a backward face, one to guard against the other? God axed Eve from Adam.
God bejeweled Eve’s fingers. Gold, pearls, fire-lit garnet, feline-eyed beryl; God gave Eve one piece of jewelry
for every hour of the day, one day in Eden: pendant-circled neck, wrist-arches clicked silver-locked in bracelets.
God braided Eve’s hair, placing her before Adam. Castoff, cauterized and cleaved— in four rivers of Eden one being two. [End Page 167]
The wine not wine but thorn and hip of the Syrian rose. The self not self but vases of light and vases of water. The breast not breast but cistern of rain, river of wadi.
Maroon-laced Sabbath wine not wine but sweet fire afire. The blood not blood but desert-fruit flowered. The angel not angel but interlocutor bearing names of all come out of Sodom: Moab, Ben-ammi blood-corded salt-wombed.
The stupor love not love but bitters, salt and seed. The mother not mother but wine’s soured goblet lip-lifted to forever see what we did not see: light not light but city burning bright as Mother’s veils and jewels and wedding whites. [End Page 168]
Valerie Wohlfeld’s Thinking the World Visible won the Yale Younger Poets Prize. Her work has appeared in Antioch Review, New England Review, and Seneca Review, among other magazines.