The Wife of Lot
I want to charge into the new,
to feel the breeze on my face
and not look back,
but my legs, like pillars of salt,
hold me to the evil.
I am planted to it,
like reverse roots;
Sodom drains my life-blood away,
and though my children are ahead of me
and I know I’ve saved them
by coming this far,
I feel tied up by the ankles,
unable to let go, I am stiffening.
I taste salt, like rising bile,
in the back of my throat.
Why would I return
to the men who would plunder my guests
and rape my daughters?
Why would I listen to their voices
calling me back, promising comfort,
saying, This is your home?
My eyes scan ahead, into the unknown
and I am terrified by what I do not know.
At least the pain and abuse is familiar territory
and I know how to be in it.
This new life will require a me
that I don’t know if I have anymore.
I look into my daughter’s faces and I see
that they have it still–
a fire I somehow passed on
though it lay dormant in me. They will survive,
I know, and of this, I am proud.
But the pride in me is small
and sour and hunched over
and the monsters of my past are calling
me back, back to my smallness
and smallness is easier than growing.
I am too old, too tired to grow.
Oh that I might die in my grief,
rather than return to my torment!
Might God have mercy on my weak soul?
Tears stream down my wrinkled face.
I lick them from my lips.
They taste of salt.
I cannot go on.
I will not go back.
I will not die.
God, forgive me!
I will become a monument,
one solitary life-sized tear
for every daughter who did not
or could not
or would not