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Vale of Siddim On the River Jordan out of the Dead Sea the gypsum is made and Lot’s wife is wed to the salt. Here spirit never drowns and the deadman ’s float is for the living. Fed in plasters and spas, flesh is sick and seized. What wedding vows death writes: in lava and sulfur Persephone is pleased; remains of fire at sea like hell’s honeymoon sites. Seas shift in a great gorge of moving faults. The fish and the birds abandon this sea’s strange shore’s alkali weather of salt. Here one’s ever-sinking melancholy floats free. Winds’ heddle weaves waters’ warp and woof to cleft cliffs—and death not aloof but as fruit held in the devil’s avid hoof. ß Valerie Wohlfeld Author biography Valerie Wohlfeld’s most recent book of poetry is Woman with Wing Removed (Truman State University Press, 2010). Her first collection, Thinking the World Visible, won the Yale Younger Poets Prize (Yale University Press, 1994). Publication of her work includes The New Yorker, The Hopkins Review, Yale Review, Antioch Review, Poetry Review(UK), Ploughshares, Poetry, The New Criterion, New England Review, and the Journal of the American Medical Association. Her poems have been nominated six times for a Pushcart Prize. She holds an MFA from Vermont College. Poetry 243 ...


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