By: Josie Levin
but before my Marriage,
i was the Daughter of Sodom and Gomorrah
did i know what it was to Fall?
before my children clasped Salt between their fingers to feel my Embrace? in my dreams I knew Everything before it came to Be.
holding no Memory of how it came to me
but i was ignorant, in Truth. my Mother ensured i Be.
shielding my eyes with Hands made of stronger stuff than mine,
but still crumbled under the Weight of a city Undone.
my Mother told me,
“you must never turn back. the twist of your ankle
will be your downfall, daughter.
your shoulders, my dear,
must never waver from their arch
that slow crawl up your neck is your safety net. without it
they will drip their way down the length
of your back”
when my Mother spoke these Words she murmured them
against the crown of my head As if she could whisper them into my mind, away from my eyes,
she wrapped her Fingers around my throat, and,
like hands sheltering a wounded Creature
before snapping it in Two
but she doesn’t tear me apart, though she could without moving a muscle
instead my Mother is a Mercy Maker. when the Well of Human Kindness dries up she is the Ancient Glacier below the crust worming warming waters into its Depths
In defeat, she admits
“we are born understanding nothing because the universe is a mother too and knows that birth should only scar the creator”
In the end I am the daughter of Sodom and Gomorrah I was made in their image
And for my birth, they paid the price
when my mother released me, she imparted:
“it is as human to hesitate as it is to die
so to live in your humanity is to fall
in a pillar of salt”
i am used to loneliness. the path stretching out in front of me is a familiar one i could trace it with my toes, i could walk it Backwards my mother’s warning, Her parting words Seared to my forehead, she Knew what it was to fall. and i Know
no descent sweeter than that of a salt pillar
now, standing before me, my husband says,
“our home has been forsaken seen for its sins
and will be buried in the sea”
Lot Speaks through my Mother’s teeth, when he instructs
“do not turn back
all that lies behind us is gone
and if we dwell in that memory
We will be too”
i do what I have always done in the face of these orders: Heed no Warning, Obey no Law, Turn Around
Josie Levin is a visual artist and poet. She lives in Indianapolis, reads large volumes of books and occasionally writes her own. She has been published in several publications, including Ink & Voices, The 2River View, and Slaughterhouse Magazine.