Incarnation to Salt
–Winner of the 2018 Bermuda Triangle Prize
After he’d become a man, and healed the
sick, and died, and risen again, God
became salt. Man was made in God’s image;
being man was nothing new. But salt—
salt eluded God. He’d made it unthinking, like
one puts on a shoe before leaving home.
So, one day, he raised his arms up like a child, and
the earth slipped a crystal-colored dress
over his lack of flesh. What did God feel then
when the beasts stuck their pink tongues
on stones to taste him? People hungered, hacked, gathered
him up from black caves into fractured clumps
in sacks to sell him. In the little glass churches on diner counters
he heard the endless debates of salts,
got swept up into their arguments, abandoned reason,
cried out with the others in their hunger and desire—how
they wanted to be baptized into water!
Some said it’d be only pain and further division.
Water, they said, was the scalpel drawn down
the center of the brain to make two minds where
there was one. Still, they wanted it done,
like the souls of the damned that shake in craving,
eager to get over the Acheron into Hell.
Others contended water was Heaven’s gate: that
dissolution was the crumbling of
a prison, the exit from the painted trap
of form, whose single taste is unknown to itself.
The water’s surface, they argued, was the only wall
between them and the one glassy God they would become— and
that wall had no thickness.
God himself debated both positions, remembered
something, forgot it, forgot he had
remembered it, until the salt shaker shook, and
he slipped at last inside a bowl of soup,
curled between its charge, let the two parts of
his atomic mind be pulled apart
but not quite divided—it was a gentle and natural
teasing, like how sound divides into music
or hours sift into seconds. And then
he was no longer himself—he was other,
split and double, spinning. Two spoons
stirred his chloride and sodium parts in soup.
Two spoons of two lovers eating
together on a winter day: tomato bisque
with the God that split God and got lost
inside of it. You can imagine, in all horror,
what it’s like to die in crucifixion.
But you cannot imagine what it’s like to
lose your crystal body to become
solution—to swell two lovers’ bloods
thick, in swarms of cells—to be lost in life as
time is lost or caught inside a clock.