Sunday, 12 February 2017

salt pillar

by Jill Crainshaw


a single sentence
timeless taboo frozen in time
“Remember Lot’s wife” they warn
brackish disdain dripping from their words
they quote sacred statutes
“she slipped from truth”
“disobeyed”
“sinned against God”
“lingered in her love for the world”

what sight cursed your eyes when you looked back?
or did what you see bless instead? bittersweet
benedictory acknowledgement of what happened
back there
that thing about which we shall never speak
“look not behind thee” commanded almighty voices
was it worth it, the stolen glance that sealed your fate
calcified you in our objectifying gaze?
you refused to remember to forget
how he looked away
willing to barter still innocent daughters
to satiate savage
men pounding on the door of
home sweet? home

ah, ancient unnamed friend,
we cannot forget to remember you
could not did not
turn your back
we must
turn back
follow the path your anguished eyes seasoned with truth
see the terror
witness the horror
mourn the wounds
be healed

if we can

stand as pillars
in our own daughters’ deserts
salt of the earth

* * * * *
Jill Crainshaw is a professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She enjoys exploring how words give voice to unexpected ideas, insights and visions.