Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lot's Wife

lot said
don’t look over your shoulder darling
god said don’t look over your shoulder

but lord / she’d left behind
more than bricks & mortar

beneath the backyard olive tree
lay the bones of a baby daughter

keep walking
don/t look over your shoulder
keep walking

in the end / of course
they warned her in vain
& now we all know lot’s wife
we all learn lot’s wife’s tale:
how she disobeyed
glanced back
& turned to salt in god’s wrath

but lord
we don’t even know her name

lot’s wife
don’t look over your shoulder
lot’s wife

she’d walked free
but the smell of burning flesh
was on her tongue
it rained ash / she choked
back smoke & screamed
lot / i can’t run

don’t look over your shoulder
darling

lot / i can’t run

& as she turned
& saw
the melted screams
on the bodies of babes she’d held
while breathing / she said
lot / if this is god
i can’t believe

& lot’s wife was right:
hers was never a question of faith
the truth is always worth the price you pay

when they say
don’t look over your shoulder
keep walking
i turn

when they say
don’t look over your shoulder
lot’s wife

i turn

i will not run
& let my city burn

9 comments:

  1. This is gorgeous. And it hurts the heart, doesn't it? That she will always be "Lot's wife" and will remain nameless.

    "...& lot’s wife was right:
    hers was never a question of faith
    the truth is always worth the price you pay" - this is profound, Maxine.

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  2. S***! You deserve the Wow! treatment for this beauty. But it's so intense. Sorry, but that won't do. It's so f****** intense. There, I can asterisk my words all I like, but the truth your poem got me. It really did. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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  3. This one's been in my drawer for almost two years (well, the first draft was). Not sure why I haven't posted/published it till now, but somehow it speaks to me today more than ever. I'm really glad you all enjoyed it.

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  4. powerful interpretation Maxine,
    this on is my favorite part - so strong:
    "it rained ash / she choked
    back smoke & screamed
    lot / i can’t run

    don’t look over your shoulder
    darling

    lot / i can’t run

    & as she turned
    & saw".

    I really like the way you address her no-name.

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  5. Powerful!
    __Often I refer to things I scribble as my 'bottom drawer folk-art.' Sometimes 'tis good to check the clutter in the drawer!
    _m

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  6. Thanks Magyar and Utopian Fragments. Yeah, Magyar, but I have whole half-novels in there. It's really scary and dark and I fear if I jump in too deep I'll never make it out alive.

    Letter Examples - who are you? Say it ain't comment spam!

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  7. a compassionate God did not want Lot's wife to suffer...
    He did not want her to see the hideous hand of destruction. He was trying to save her the pain of seeing her past destroyed. He was trying to lead her to a better future. For all of this, he only asked her to listen to Him.

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