Two Poems by Jaclyn Piudik & Janet R. Kirchheimer

These two poems by Jaclyn Piudik and Janet R. Kirchheimer explore the impending expulsion from The Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve’s transition to mortality (“Enditement) and reimagine Lilith, a fierce figure in Jewish Biblical lore (“Night Monster”)….

by: Jaclyn Piudik and Janet R. Kirchheimer ((Header art by Atieh Zeighami.))


The asking shatters, creates our likeness.  
Whether to weather what is seen, heard, touched 
in turmoil. Are we angels astray?  
Gilded with reflection, we are sensate;
reckless in impatience, we slither  
through midnight's orchard awaiting our fate
given on that sixth day. We yearn to be clad              
in knowledge, warmed by logos and legacy.
Delayed in petition, a stuttering,
exquisite indigence bares divinity
into words. We face each other, split in half,
eyeing wholeness yet adrift in waking.

We fall like luminaries in pursuit 
of the self, the truth that sanctifies.
Night Monster

declares herself from the north corner: unfinished creation.
Breaks free as first wife. A gardener of demons and beatific gynecology.

Mother of breath, nightkeeper, hapax legomenon: dwells in a land of fruitful 
fields. Astonished and marked by squalls of desire, she screeches, an owl 

of amazement. Banished to the narrows, no longer fertile territory, 
but a world unto herself. They call her dominatrix, an effigy to contradiction, 

harbinger of dread…wildness. Messenger of alchemy, she possesses wadis
and kindling; brings offerings to the vineyards -~-~ dross and crimson, 

wool and wine. She is faithful, pregnant with a thousand rivers, skies 
once curdled and unruly, tonguing words recognizable only on the threshold 

of slumber, in the midst of daze. Drawn toward twilight, she wanders 
until a luminary begins its descent along the horizon. 

Parallel serf : she rises \\ to unseat anima // reflowered, rethroned and whole. 
She rises † equation = she rises to puncture the dawn :  with juicy pause, blood disproven.

A serpentile myth, she drinks from a river of demons, and delicate glass is her sustenance. 
Compassion slinks up to {ache} and liquefies into the primeval // whirlpools she washes 

in each afternoon. #Lilith - - - topples hymn, metropolis oceanic, unwithering 
willows with upborne tears that defy gravity, depravity, emotion in symbol;

pa~~ive no longer. She lies prone, a golem, views the righteous that will issue from her,
hanging them from her hair, eyes, forehead. Sawed in half © © during creation, 

given a rib, a tail. For dignity, the tail is removed.   

Janet R. Kirchheimer, author of How to Spot One of Us (Clal, 2007), is currently producing AFTER, a cinematic documentary in which contemporary poets perform and explore what it means to respond to the Holocaust and genocide, including Edward Hirsch, Cornelius Eady, Alicia Ostriker, and more. Her poems and essays appear in numerous print and online journals, including Atlanta Review, Natural Bridge, Mudfish, Connecticut Review, and String Poet. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Janet received a Drisha Institute for Jewish Education Arts Fellowship in Biblical Hebrew Grammar and teaches creative writing.

Jaclyn Piudik is the author of To Suture What Frays (Kelsay Books 2017) and three chapbooks, the corpus undone in the blizzard (Espresso Chapbooks 2019), Of Gazelles Unheard (Beautiful Outlaw 2013) and The Tao of Loathliness (fooliar press 2005/8). Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including New American Writing, Columbia Poetry Review, Burning House and Barrow Street.  She received a New York Times Fellowship for Creative Writing and the Alice M. Sellers Award from the Academy of American Poets. Piudik holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from the City College of New York and a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto.  

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