In the end, it wasn’t the sea rising that swallowed them up. Or unbearable heat. It wasn’t acid rain or Charred forests that spelled their doom.
When she was a little girl, The Dead Sea was some distant nightmare place Unattached from real time and space. Inhabited by ghosts A warning to the living.
Her mother, careful of her imagination, Smiled into existence a silly sea Where she could float With no effort at all, Hot, yes, but not so dead.
When she grew up, the Dead Sea sat In a jar by the bathtub. A plastic tub, rather, Filled with soothing comfort After a long day at the office.
No, in the end, it wasn’t a Nuclear apocalypse that did them in. Or the mass extinctions. Or the soil collapse. They just Ran out of salt.
Isn’t that funny?
Those goofy glass viles that Adorned every table top. So easy to take for granted. This substance, so natural, so Ubiquitous. That it never really made the front page?
No. Roves of armed men Shooting up the scorched earth Didn’t bring the end. Marked it, perhaps, but didn’t Hasten its coming.
They just ran out of salt.
The simple things They probably just forgot We’re important. Forgot how to notice what Meant enough to be preserved. And once they did (notice), No salt.
They forgot the medicine for the wounds. The salts to wake them up, Shock them back to seeing. Forgot the healing it brought the blood. The cellular revival.
Of course they remembered When the loss hit their tongues The flavor dull, no more. But they remembered too late. After the salt was all consumed. All used up in baths that brought comfort. Food that soared their blood pressure. Used up, but not appreciated.
The little girl woman, in her final thoughts, Before fatigue gave way to quaking, Felt embarrassed about the bath salts That she’d not paid much attention Either to the time, or the sea, Or her people.
Of course, she’d cared for comfort Made sure material needs were met. And kept up with the news. Oil spills, political shenanigans, School shootings and the like. But somehow, she’d missed the simpler things
She wasn’t afraid of running out of salt Before it disappeared. She hardly marked her loss Never developed Her ability to recognize What warranted preserving.
She picked up her anti-anxiety meds like clockwork. But forgot there was simpler medicine She’d focused on attaining the sweetest things. And lost the nuanced possibilities of her tongue.
Before the quaking Gave way to nothing She thought back to the Dead Sea And wondered Where the destruction/How the destruction Came to be. Was it in morbid imagination? Or silly simplification?
She thought of Lot’s wife. And the consequence of looking back. On those people, who she loved… Paying real attention To someone else’s suffering.
Was it punishment?
Becoming a pillar of earth? Becoming what allows Good things to be preserved? Becoming medicine? Becoming flavor?
In the end, they’d just run out of salt. She thought, I think I was a wife once.