Lot's Wife, by Brendan Todt
after Lot's Wife, triptych by Helen Frankenthaler
My father was dying and the tears that fell belonged to him. Parts of me have already been taken underground and eaten and made manifest in the next generation. A life is not about looking back but convincing yourself you’ll never have the need to. I want to call out to Helen Frankenthaler. I want to call her by her first name, as I often had to with my father. I want to pretend the things that aren’t true are. I want to call ahead to her, even if it means into the void of our deaths, and ask her to turn around, though of course it is not only the artist’s duty to see. I hated my father when he died because he did it without ever seeing I was the one sitting beside him at the end, going to salt as I looked back on both of our lives. We are all of us sinners fleeing the cities of our left-behinds. We called each other names for years and survived by never turning back. The last word is nothing but the moving forward.
Brendan Todt is the author of the poetry chapbook The Idea of Leaves within the Dying Tree. His poem "At the Particle Accelerator at Krasnoyarsk" was included in Best American Non-Required Reading 2013. His fiction and poetry can be found elsewhere in print and online. He lives in Sioux City, Iowa and teaches at Morningside College.
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