Two Tragedies

by M.S. Rooney


Two British geologists,

Graham Harris and Anthony Beardow,

claimed liquefaction

slid Sodom and Gomorrah

into the Dead Sea.


“The only way

you can really lose whole cities

and whole tracts of land


is by liquefaction.”


They cite:

Helice, Greece, in 372 B.C.E.

Thousands of square miles

(unnamed), China, 1921.

Valdez, Alaska, 1950’s.


So it could be:

that the earth shook, and liquefied.

the flood plains near the Lison Peninsula,

caused bitumen deposits

to ignite like a plum pudding,


that as the cities sank,

a tsunami swept a large block

of Dead Sea salt

into the jagged new seashore,

and Lot (from his perch

on the next mountain range)

mistook it for his wife.


“You have

the distinct possibility

of a personal tragedy

having been elevated

into legend.”



Lot’s wife

had a name –

what was it?


About the Author

M.S. Rooney lives in Sonoma, California with poet Dan Noreen. Her work appears in journals, including Bluestem, The Cortland Review, Main Street Rag, and Route 7 Review, and anthologies, including American Society: What Poets See (FutureCycle Press), edited by David Chorlton and Robert S. King, and Ice Cream Poems (World Enough Writers), edited by Patricia Fargnoli. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.


The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by John Martin 1852.