Lot’s Wife Beckons

By Brad Aaron Modlin

Stillness and breathing are simple in this pillow
of salt. Here choices don't exist — a lullaby.
Isn't this what you want too, a space as white

as quiet? A world with no newborns, no hands 
to toss them? You envy me, because you too 
have felt the needy straight pin begshine 

your eyeball to be its seam, felt the hunger 
of the gigglesigh that escapes your cupped 
hand as the funeral processes by. Which is why

you lock the cellar door between the rat poison 
and your tongue, safebury the key beneath 
the begonias; why you board up head-sized windowpanes, 

why you subjectchange about what you're really
dreamthinking on the old bridge, as you watch 
your spittle greet the drowned rocks—

which is why, hugwrapping yourself
around the rail, you smash your chin to the metal—
the reason you are cotton. At the edge of Gomorrah,

your bus fare forgottensings down the sidewalk 
when the windowless, jagged van herklurches 
and your thumb leapflies toward the driver;  

and when it happens to you, which of course it will—
and your hand scrapefires out of your husband's 
and his faceforward yell is blanketfogged 

and your feet quicksand to the ground—
in the inchspace between being stolen and letting go,
just over your left shoulder, it will be there—

the whisperitch that you familyknow,
which is you, quickening. Here, just a tiny pulse
behind you. Listen.

Isn't this why you were born with a neck?
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About Brad Aaron Modlin

Brad Aaron Modlin is the author of Everyone at This Party Has Two Names, which won the Cowles Poetry Prize — and the author of Surviving in Drought, a small collection of stories that won The Cupboard's annual contest. His nonfiction has appeared in River Teeth, Florida Review, Fourth Genre, DIAGRAM, and others. He teaches at Missouri Southern.

2 Comments

  1. Jonathan Billet
    Posted February 2017 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    The White Plains, in their white fog, with cumulus clouds of white ivory elephant tusks. The white light is among other things that your images evoked in my mind. “WHITE PILLOW-WHITE SALT.
    Writer White On!i!i!…

  2. Cheri Johnson
    Posted March 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    I very much enjoyed Mr. Modlin’s poem “Lot’s Wife Beckons”. The practice of creating words from existing ones is both clever and utilitarian; Mr. Modlin does this with finesse. His poetry is vivid and absorbing.

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