Pillar of Salt

by Natasha Oladokun

History is the nightmare from which I’m trying to awake. —James Joyce

None of this will end with our city
blistering. Nor with the ashen
squall they say will be called down
by a livid God. In sulfur and seething
we have already made our beds:
making meals of our own prophecies,
curing what’s left of weeks, months,
and years we spend crafting
monuments to our brittle lives.
If there is any truth in what I say,
what will end us has happened already:
the gate unlatched, hell’s hornet nest
rife and darkening against the sun.
But note just how careful I will be,
how I will not fail to search for anything
worth saving. For all of this, and more,
I’ve turned back all my life.

NATASHA OLADOKUN’s poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in PleiadesImageThe Hollins CriticIndie Film Minute, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from Hollins University, and currently works at the Virginia Quarterly Review.