Bread House Salt God

—the family of simple, monosyllabic words.
                   –Adam Zagajewski, Another Beauty



the tsunami smell of yeast inundated our house

the mornings our mother baked bread
up through floorboards it came up the stairwell
it spread stirring our dreamselves alive
fresh loaves, bells for the nose
their toll sent sleep from somnolent heads
broken bread. you are the salt of the earth, he said
as a breeze blew over a wine jug’s spout
which made a lowing sound
as if a ghost were playing a bass flute
as if a shade could play such an instrument
we heard with superstitious ears
and over our shoulders cast that condiment
a column of salt: Lot’s wife turned around
with sorrow. her heart bled,
thumped to her anger at what god didLots Wife
ached over the ashes of each house
over the ashes of ash Wednesday
over the ashes of the day before
over smoking coals glowing with godjustice
unnamed she stood
becoming a pillar of sodium chloride looking back
watching tongues of fire
watching pillars of smoke
watching her world burn
condemned
for not keeping her love hid


Jim Culleny; November 2008


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