Like any mother I lived for my children. Bone of my bones, gave them my body as house, gave them my house as home. I was fruitful. I multiplied. Nothing was ever my own and I called this sacrifice, devotion. What I called them became their names. Some grew and some did not. Some were angry and some were not. Some murdered, some tended the flocks, some built boats to escape the flood. Some built towers into the sky. Some became pillars of salt. I fed them by the sweat of my brow. Some needed more than I could give them, though I saved only thorns and thistles for myself. God was a voice in the sky with no tree to burn. God was a shower of burning sulfur, a snake winding through the dirt. If I had a moment to spare, I might have bent to hear what he was saying.
Copyright © 2018 Holly Karapetkova. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Summer 2018.