Lot's Wife

You can’t tell some people anything,
Especially the curious, stubborn, wise.
All she had to do was walk away, one step
After another. Not much to ask.
But she was a mother, used to keeping
An eye on things, keeping house,
Keeping her husband happy at home.
So, she had to take one last look back.
That was all it took to turn
That handsome, firm-breasted frontier woman
Into a lump of salt. Salt is,
All would agree, a good thing,
Preserves meat, kills weeds, heals wounds,
Makes the womb a safe place for life.
But, as aching Lot would quickly learn,
It’s hard to love a lump of salt.

Lot’s Wife. The bus slows down,
Hisses to a halt, and the pilgrims rise
To peer through the oily, dusted windows,
Making the Mercedes suspension sigh.
Which in that huddle of accordioned hoodoos
Is she? “Over there!” a Missouri teacher
Declares, pointing to a heap of sandstone
Shapely as a crumbling bale of hay.
All wonder. Looking at his wristwatch,
The Israeli guide suggests that all
Resume their seats. All comply.
The bus lugs into gear, lurches forward,
Headed for a better site,
The beautiful hills of Galilee,
And every soul on board looks back.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

An immigration rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington in April. The U.S. bishops' migration committee chair in a statement on July 18 urged President Donald Trump to "ensure permanent protection" for youth under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
U.S. bishops urge Trump administration "to continue administering the DACA program and to publicly ensure that DACA youth are not priorities for deportation."
In time, we respond or fail to respond to God’s dreams for us.
Terrance KleinJuly 19, 2017
Callista Gingrich at a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing in Washington on July 18. Gingrich was nominated by President Donald Trump to be the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. Her husband is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. (CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)
On issues that have become hallmarks of the Francis papacy, notably care of creation and the global refugee crisis, Mrs. Gingrich had difficulty explaining how she might engage the Vatican, given Mr. Trump’s views.
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago at a press conference in Chicago on April 4. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Chicago Catholic)
"I think that the terms gay and lesbian, L.G.BT. should be respected.... People should be called the way that they want to be called rather than us coming up with terms that maybe we’re more comfortable with.”