An Account of the Saltscape,
in Three Parts

Joshua Cohen

We were in the field together, ours, lying loving, then arguing to stand. Suddenly she turned from me, was turned from me, away, and turned to salt. As that, in salt, she was no less beautiful, though certainly less mine if ever she had been.

         I stood a dark facing her pale, taking it, her, in. Immaculate, such small fineness, grain packed deep and tight in the form that fit my arms, was fit to my arms, as if my reach was her and her only, as she was, once, so perfect, now hardened. I circled her -- observing her hard in all the curves she hated to be observed in -- circled her seven times around, observed her head around to toe observed her cleavages, whitenesses thick and yet still white as nude, I circled. Screaming long pinch on love, why me? I shouted myself to stasis. Sweep of jaw, columnar neck, fluted, her shoulders tapered out to arm, sun-holding wrist with hand upheld, about to slap. Me, my naked face. And suddenly, she turned from me, was turned from me, away, and turned to salt.

         Bitter, I broke off a finger, brittle, her right handís index at the cracking knuckle, loosing grains. I held this, hers, aloft. To touch the sky. An idol. Pointing fault. To print my nipple in. Then popped it in my mouth. And thought, couldnít help but thinking, salty. I sucked, its nail, the finger pursing down to its first joint, the second as my lips began to pucker, withdrew into my face, they paled then sucked me in -- internalizing what must have been her sin -- unto clarity, near transparence of all possible motives, a disappearance into purity myself, my own: I dissolved into a cloud. Of the wide and high spring day.

         Gaining heavens, I floated light above her, hovering, there still. Gathering my tears to heavy, a womb of my own, finally, with which to crown her imperfected form, then -- after how much moon and lack of wind, not sure -- fell down on her, I loosed hot rain, drizzle dumped to melt her cooling, then myself, suspended, a deep smudge before ruining her features, this running dissolution to our lying standing field. From whence I wisped away myself, dispersed, fade to glare then gone. As the sun shot through me, flowers, growing below wild of her, grown white.

The child, the boy they never had, never made together as one he emerges from out of nowhere, sensibly dressed for the weather, skips through the field, theirs, gathering, picking flowers at their highest, fullest spread from the roots. He skips, now, straight to their house -- which would be the home they never made together, strewn far from here, horizoning the field all around -- to place those wildflowers in the large and round glass vase her mother, his motherís mother, never to be, had disinherited them upon the endless table his father had never found the room or time to nail for.

Then the child, the boy, theirs, pulls up a chair, sits, his head in hands, awake with life soon staring, senseless, at the vase's weak reflection, its large and roundly distorting glass until the flowers wilt themselves to fine white hair that, soon, overflows his second, lesser face, whelms his eyes, until both sleep.

This is the revised story as it appears in Genizah (2008) to read this story as it originally appeared click here  

Image: Avraham Eilat

November 2005

The Jerusalem Same-Sex Attraction Group
Phil S. Stein

The Second Coming of Yeshayahu Leibowitz
Avi Steinberg

An Account of the Saltscape
Joshua Cohen

Fresh Baked Bread
Jay Michaelson

Out of the Depths
Lorna Knowles Blake

Adam Lavitt

Our 790 Back Pages

Zeek in Print
Fall 2005 issue out now!

About Zeek

Mailing List

Contact Us


Tech Support


From previous issues:

Empowering Jewish Progressives
Dara Silverman talks with Leah Koenig

Deconstructing Zell Miller
Jay Michaelson

The Hamas Class of 1992
Michael Shurkin