To the Artist's Page To our home page
To Richard Fein's previous piece
The Daughter's Version Beyond the door our father's shouts were loudest of all, his voice so familiar, his words too clearly understood. We huddled close to mother, all she could do was sob. The two strangers, those unwanted guests, watched -- unmoved. Out there our father bargained by offering us as virgin goods, ripe for taking in return for the "inviolate sanctity" of his guests. The mob went blind with lust. When father finally returned, mother looked at him once, no more. Our father, tall as a temple column. When we were girls how we'd run to him when he'd open the door. We'd climb, kiss, and hug him. But that evening our past was cut. Mother cried salty, salty, tears. Next morning the maelstrom. For our sakes mother fled with him so far but no farther. Her legs rebelled. Turning she sat down still as a stone. The ash covered her. "Mother, Mother, get up, we cried." No use. She wouldn't turn even to look at us. To look at us, she'd have to look at him. Sodom was hellish even before that day. But even in hell there's a camaraderie among the damned. And not all hated us, or were hellish. There were children who played tag by our door, and the mothers who watched over them. Their screams we also heard in the searing wind. Those two unwanted angels, their inventory was incomplete. Only the men were counted, and we, we . . . Sister pass the wine; we have no father now. But let's hug him once more. But not kiss. Let's keep our lips from him, always. Sisters don't worry. The God of our great uncle is sated and silent. Everyone, everything is ash, even sin. Sisters pass the wine, we'll make him drink. When he rises from his stupor we'll tell him. Let him pray to Sodom's destroyer for forgiveness. Let's use him as he used us. Let's do a pantomime of love, and bear unloving sons.
To the top of this page