Pillar of Salt
With poison oak fingers, I buried my cousin’s third stillborn son in the mandrake graveyard, blessed the ground with pumpkin seeds, but nothing ever took root, no vines climbed into the sky, no cobras fell from the clouds. Squirrel on the plate, without sorghum syrup to sweeten the flesh, my face scraped raw with a stiffened sheet, the one I was born on, she wanted me out
and moved on to the winter garden that needed weeding, handed me over to the older children who also had no bread, who measured the circumference of my unloved wrists, decided I was a waste of sharpened blade. My own daughter born with a silver spoon, awakened by the smell of boiled shrimp, visions of peeling the skin and sucking the meat, chewing the tails, sharing the scraps with roses, unlike my mother who looked over her shoulder and crystallized, left behind to feed the herds of young forest beasts, to keep them alive through the impossible summer.
About the writer:
Beth Gordon received her MFA from American University a long time ago and was not heard from again until 2017 when her poems began to appear in numerous journals including Into the Void, Outlook Springs, Drunk Monkeys, Verity La and After Happy Hour Review. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She is also Poetry Editor of Gone Lawn.
Image: “Shepherd” from The Individual series by Deborah Norton. Oil and mixed media on Masonite. 24 x 24 inches. Norton is best known for her layered mixed media oil paintings. Inspired by expressionism including the “combines” of Rauschenberg and the raw figurative paintings of Schiele, Norton experiments with translucent paint layers, color and mixed media to expose life and its’ always changing expression. Deborah Norton is O:JA&L’s “Featured Artist” for March 2019.