Lot’s wife was lucky. Turned to salt.
Her daughters’ witness on the plain, a pillar-
beacon gleaming, alabaster–salt
of the ancient oceans, yawling salt of mother tears,
salt the small roe deer and fawns comfort
with their rough-tender tongues. Lot’s wife
chose a last looking back, her why.
And my children? The ten mornings of their birth?
Dawn rolled out rosy silk to swaddle them.
Swallowtails stopped their migration to freshen themselves,
sipping the dew where we lay.
And the noon of their death?
Charred my eyelids. Shriveled my moonless womb. Lit coals
under the soles of my feet. Should I say otherwise?
Who would I ask
when I am become prey? Ten lions stalk me. Ten carrion birds circle.
And above them the sun has shook loose its orbit, flung Time
from its place. No daybreak. Nor afternoon rest. No evening,
her sweet cooling breeze.
Oh husband, why do you care why?
Let me put on ash of roses, squat at the justice gate.
Look, no name sisters, how white grief renders me,
skin translucent where sorrow gnaws, where shards
scrape, a hide stretched taut on the frames of windows.
Listen. I am the mine abandoned when gold veins
run dry. I am the looted tomb.
My name a flute
no one’s breath flows through.