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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Carnell

The Valley of the Shadows

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

by Jennifer Schmitt Carnell

To altar

is need re-lented

ashes to ashes

control repented

To altar

the kneaded in coals

risen then broken

many parts, one whole

So altared

on knee, delivered

priestly and kingly

forgiveness whispered turning the margins

that fed it

to ashes,

in other dimensions

a fire won’t end

in self-suffocation

but will send pulsing


into limbs

into houses,

where love and rage

will crumble the rafters

to gray, which moulders

on pillows spun

by worms. This one coal among many, gripped by tongs to

diamond density, touches the lips of a prophet

and returns to the sacrifice.

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