Rock Salt – by Yasmin Mariam Kloth

There were parts of her
I no longer recognized—
cracked lips split in craters
I knew no amount of sponge
and small beige cup of water
would heal. I still asked
the nurse to bring me
cup after cup as if I could
save her this way, close
the deep cuts, turn around
to another time.
Another nurse, as if to say
she’s dying, let her go
asked if I wanted to see
her feet beneath the sheets
which, she told me,
had turned a blistered black.
I declined, held my mother’s
soft, pink hand instead,
focused on the parts of her
that still looked like her
to me. I thought of the rock
salt on the edges of the road
we’d take from there to here,
thought how quiet the house
felt this close to Christmas,
thought how irreversible
this road had become;
how the rock salt, a sheen,
would stick for days after,
in bitter cold and threat
of impending storm.

Yasmin Mariam Kloth’s writing explores love, loss, place and space, often at the intersection of her family memories and her Middle Eastern heritage. Yasmin’s work has appeared previously in  Rockvale Review, and can also be found in Juxtaprose Literary Magazine, Cathexis Northwest Press, and other outlets. Her first collection of poetry, Ancestry Unfinished: Poems of a Lost Generation, is forthcoming this fall from Kelsay Books.