About my transgression words
have been scattered countless as salt grains.
So let me tell you how it came to pass.
Simply, I was a mother and woman.
My married children would not leave Sodom, stubborn
as broom shrub rooted in desert rocks.
Through their branching doubts
I could see the smoke of doom.
I could not dispel it.
When the angels pulled us to safety
memories, simple and blameless, tugged at
my heart, as if by chains: The servant’s small
song cradling the children at dusk; the brave
hopping of my one-legged pigeon; our fig tree –
her bountiful gifts of sweetness and shade –
such friend, betrayed.
Men will follow blindly Gods and kings, renounce all
to conquer the promise of some epic future.
Wars have taught them a reason-forged heartplate is impregnable
against the dangerous onslaughts of past and pity.
But we –
faithful daughters of the four-season heart,
ordained priestesses of memory’s fire which
that shower of brimstone was about to extinguish -
are made of a different mettle:
we will not betray loved, living beings.
History mentions me once only:
example and warning.
Safe in Zo’ar, and on future journeys,
how often did my husband turn
around to find me -
A stalagmite of tears A beacon of defiance ??