Lots’ Wife Speaks

My voice…my voice! Will no-one give me my voice?

Cruel God, you preserved me for eternity –

pure packed salt will do that you knew:

salted away on this desert plain,

salt of the sands not of the earth,

any woman worth her salt would have looked back –

now I am become an old salt, wounds rubbed in it,

you statued me with a pillar not a shouldered pinch.

I am glad you are dead, God,

how I pity your widow her wasted years,

perhaps she will undo this work of yours,

desalinate my pale crusted being.

Lady Laureate…your World’s Wife ignores me,

me…this nameless possession of goody-goody Lot:

in all your thirty “let these unheard better halves speak”

in all your thirty “let these ‘er indoors step into light”

you found no place for me, no words for my dried mouth.

Just one glance back at those louring infernos,

those lurid reddened skies condemned me for ever,

made me less than Orpheus, another rearview sinner –

though at least he kept a voice, 

even death could not stifle his song.

Oh, I am thirsty for my own blood,

let it flow once again through my veins –

I am thirsty for my own milk

let it flow once again in my breasts

where my daughters suckled on sweetness:

I was guilty of wondering, of questioning,

of putting knowledge before faith.

Who among us has not turned to gaze,

dared by power’s command to serve and obey? 

Ah, I see, no punishment is too harsh for being human.


Ted Eames, 2018