Lot’s Wife

DSCN0351Lot’s Wife

Woodley Memorial Press, 2000, 70 pages, ISBN: 0-939391-27-9, Available at the Raven Bookstore

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is a wise, witty and wry poet. ~ Alicia Ostriker, author of Stealing the Language: The Emergence of Women’s Poetry in America

There were never two women, just Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, split into myths, riper than pomegranates and out of all time. I love these poems. ~ Stanley Lombardo, translator of The Illiad

Lot’s Wife tells stories about heroines, especially the women of the Bible, fairy tales, and myth. Each poem suggests a possible solution to the mystery of gender and human identity. Mirriam-Goldberg has published widely already, and this, her first book, is a well crafted, important debut. ~ Denise Low, Poet Laureate of Kansas 2007-2009

Excerpt: I Love You

I love you without knowing what it means
no matter how many trees climb uselessly,
the clouds dangerous in their sheen.
I love you stupid as any tree thinking
the grass is useless, the sky background
noise, the sprinkler a god, the wide mouthed lake
a mirror to leave and never return to.

I let myself fall on the bed slow motion
because I love you without knowing anything
about how this fall will take my whole life.
The earth fixed in orbit. Your hands climb me
in surprise, a trellis made of bones.
Everything between us like weather
that is never about destination but dropping intent.

Do you know how many times
I’ve stared at the curve of your cheekbone
thinking this has nothing to do with me?
But as soon as your eyes notice, the walls
of the room fall slow motion out all directions
we’re holding each other without touching
or touching. I’m trying to look at you in the dark
that isn’t the negation of space but a shaping thing -
a way to unspill color back to whatever we were
before this body or after. Just beyond your lips,
the teeth guarding the skull that will survive you.
I love your skin replacing itself at the speed of light spent
through window panes on this slate of daylight,
where I cannot stop saying,

I love you blind. I love you long.
I love you over the crest of the water
the air the babies the branches
walking beneath birds
to will into being by loving away the will.
I love you halfway up the life where we lay
body doubles for how well we’d love
if the body was about
to turn back to wind.

I stop climbing
and say I love you glistening
with one of the million slivers of the evil mirror
imbedded in my heart. I love you
from the bottom of my smashed mirror.
Don’t you see, nothing is impenetrable?