The Poetry of Karla Huston
A tense bond of elements
like a marriage, more soluble
in hot than cold water. Some say
panic is made of it, the hollow

of an armpit bathed in brine,
a pocket of sweat and terror:
God's wrath became an ochre post,
while Lot's wife blazed.

Or Morton's cobalt canister,
made famous by an umbrella,
held by a little girl--her yellow dress
tilted under a reign

of salt that spins a tumult behind her.
Some say salt perks up coffee,
soothes sore throats, cleans vases and pots,
It removes red wine stains, protects

pantyhose, eats fish odors, and cuts rust.
And how do we live without it,
our bodies forever craving a sprinkle of the sea?
Even salary comes from the word--

crystal cakes exchanged as money.
Still I wonder how we come to
know it, savor its elemental
fault, the sweet fury of desire,

the measure of a life in a handful
of cinder and bone. How do we
see clearly through
the oceans in our eyes?
Previously published in One Trick Pony, Fox Cry Review, online at and in the chapbooks: Flight Patterns, winner of the 2003 Main Street Rag Chapbook Contest, 2003, and Virgins on the Rocks, Parallel Press, 2004.