Recall the newly promoted Marduk,
Given omnipotence by other gods,
Who incinerated his old wardrobe
Now too drab for one so exalted,
Into curling smoke and fluttering ash
With only one potent word of command,
Just to make sure his power worked.
And wouldn't you, with such a spell at hand
And a guest who's overstayed his welcome,
Use it to nudge him gently out the door?
I didn't regret seeing the fish go
Back to the pot in a casserole dish,
Still ranting about Nineveh's peril.
Screw Nineveh. What about Jonah?
The angel's frank discourse had depressed me,
And the parting with departing private parts
Had a profound, negative impact on me.
I'd entered, so quickly, the twilight.
In this moment my ministry turned sour,
And I forgot all my clever ideas,
Which included my finest and most recent.
I abandoned forever that concept
Of the one special female disciple.
Like one of those fast-growing gourd vines,
The plan matured from seed to stick-figure,
From childhood to menopause in minutes.
It now stood dead, a dry, sapless cane,
Its withered leaves and blossoms still attached.
When dreams turn marcescent it's time to wake.
It was then, too, that I found I'd acquired
A distaste for all manner of seafood,
A strong and adverse reaction to fish.
I could not now eat one or see one,
And I had long since outgrown the desire
To net my rewards as a huge fish catch,
Wished now instead the cash equivalent
Paid out in large and frequent installments.
Fish were too lively, too unwieldy,
To work well as a medium of exchange.
Many merchants will not accept a fish,
Dead or alive, as payment for a purchase.
And what modern Ninevite female
Would find attractive squirming wads of trout
Pulled from the pocket instead of banknotes?
But this was now purely academic
To one like myself, robbed of manhood.

Will there be any love interest, bird,
To this story? Any relationship
Of a strong, deep or complex nature?
I begin to suspect expectation
Of any such will go disappointed.

Your thinking wounds me, Marguerite, I said.
You were then, and you still are, my passion.
And think twice before you dismiss my case.
Your true other's concealed within the noise,
Disguised and underrated, overlooked,
Like messiahs that do carpentry too,
Or worlds that hide in unassuming sand,
Or all the small signs that Allah provides
You find out of place, shelfed with white rice
Or filed with gas bills or floating in soup.
The true lover isn't always obvious
Or what fickle convention would pick,
Perhaps a bit fatter, a bit flatter,
A bit more inanimate, short and green,
That what current taste regards as a match.
Don't let superficial flaws deter;
Go for inward truth, not outward charm.
It still isn't too late for something
To develop between us, a great romance
Of the kind you've seen on paperback racks.
I'm not quite that barechested hunk
You spy on front covers, the one that leans
And tips the babe over onto a bed,
Concentrate instead on my stronger points.
I'm just the right size for a sex toy,
An electric parrot-shaped vibrator,
Feathered and dirty-talking and abuzz
With rapid, satisfactory beat ... Squark!

End of Caput 7

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