The Origin of Salt

By Hannah Dow

A man and a woman build a house of stones.
They do not build a roof because it never rains.
After two days, they say, what shall we drink?
The water, says the woman.
But the lake is so beautiful, says the man, we should not disturb it.
We will die without it. She makes a cup with her hands and drinks.
He makes a cup with his hands and drinks.
After several years, the lake has retreated many inches.
The man, the woman, and their child must walk out very far to cup their hands and drink.
What can we do? says the woman. We will run out of water.
We can make our cups smaller.
He makes a cup with his child’s hands, saying, see? Now we will live many more years.
After many more years, the child’s hands are as large as his father’s.
What can we do now?
We must conserve, says the man. We must separate our tears from their salt.


Hannah Dow is a PhD student at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in such journals as Harpur Palate, Soundings East, and Armchair/Shotgun, among others. She also received an honorable mention in the 2015 AWP Intro Journals Project. 

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