Maybe Deuteronomy’s Writer Had Been Kissed by a Man from Sodom

written on 12 November 2021 by Benjamin Bagocius

Art by Nat Iwata

Kissed by him many times, under trees along the brook,
in the barn loft, in the secluded lane outside the Temple

And then Deuteronomy’s writer—let’s call him, say, Benjamin—
saw his lover from Sodom
kiss another man in a portico
during a sudden rainstorm
at market

That the lover from Sodom
shared the grapes on that vine
so perfectly shaped for Benjamin’s lips,

that all it took was a stranger
caught in a rainstorm at market
for the man from Sodom to share a sweetness
so perfectly lapped by his, Benjamin’s, tongue,

was the bitterness that burned Benjamin’s blood,
the heat incinerating his veins, the poisonous fumes
seeped to his mind,

everyone else scattered and laughing,
their palms lifted to heaven and praising God’s gifts
from impromptu shelters, except for Benjamin,

whose lips should be being kissed
in a portico, but who instead
stood in the pouring rain