Lot Fleeing Sodom by Benjamin West, Circa 1810


What Lot’s wife would have said (if she wasn’t a pillar of salt)

Do you remember when we met

in Gomorrah? When you were still beardless,

and I would oil my hair in the lamp light before seeing

you, when we were young, and blushed with youth

like bruised fruit. Did we care then

what our neighbors did

in the dark?

When our first daughter was born

on the River Jordan, when our second

cracked her pink head from my body

like a promise, did we worry

what our friends might be

doing with their tongues?

What new crevices they found

to lick love into or strange flesh

to push pleasure from, when we

called them Sodomites then,

all we meant by it

was neighbor.

When the angels told us to run

from the city, I went with you,

but even the angels knew

that women always look back.

Let me describe for you, Lot,

what your city looked like burning

since you never turned around to see it.

Sulfur ran its sticky fingers over the skin

of our countrymen. It smelled like burning hair

and rancid eggs. I watched as our friends pulled

chunks of brimstone from their faces. Is any form

of loving this indecent?

Cover your eyes tight,

husband, until you see stars, convince

yourself you are looking at Heaven.

Because any man weak enough to hide his eyes while his neighbors

are punished for the way they love deserves a vengeful god.

I would say these things to you now, Lot,

but an ocean has dried itself on my tongue.

So instead I will stand here, while my body blows itself

grain by grain back over the Land of Canaan.

I will stand here

and I will watch you


– Karen Finneyfrock


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