Summer 1984 • Vol. VI No. 3 Voices in American PoetryJuly 1, 1984 |

Noah

The joke began with his blessing,And I rose, naked and seriousIn the ark of his hand. He showered praise, claimed meHis salvage. Bound with his WordI hounded close friends. My skin layered dirtTheir heels kicked off. PropheciesDribbled from my mouth to my chin. I blew home, a crumpled bulletin,And his chuckle framed my doorway.So I built the boat anyway: Downed the forest's first trees,Smelted nails in the soup pot,While my industrious sons Flexed their asses on milk stools,The clouds in their facesSpit in the sand. Nightfall collapsed And my wife stooped beside me,Our bodies one islandRocking on water. Now water Cleaves the stars from the sky,Stones of our prayersSink in dry heaves. The animals oink and whinnyFor feed. The drowned bask,Receding from history. I imagine the grass like skinStripping cleanFrom waterlogged fields. A dove feathers the air, fluttersDrenched to its perch, wide-eyed, breathless.I stroke its wings with salt-cracked hands. To

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