I should have known better, she said to this,
Than expect birds to give direct response,
A straight answer out of a crooked beak.
Okay, try this: it was a flash flood.
Wait, Marguerite! Put the hammer down.
This, of all secrets, I cannot reveal,
But here's a map that'll mark out the spot,
A tip on the topic God disallows:
During all of the rains and during his cruise,
Noah never saw floods that Enlil sent,
Never saw water, never got wet.
So righteous was he, God kept him dry,
So dry, in fact, skin blistered and cracked,
His clothes grew grimy, he panted with thirst.
He was so dry and so dehumidified,
So wrung out, so dehydrated that,
Before flood was done, he crawled down halls
That went in long circles inside the hull,
Wandered desert in the watertight ark.
His crawl led parallel to all pipes,
Equidistant from the starboard and port,
As high above the deeps that rose beneath
As deep beneath rains that fell from above.
And should Godhead come to know that Noah
Had now chosen to head for the ship's head,
He'd head him off, turn him, confuse his thoughts,
And erase all memories, all knowledge,
That Noah had built on waterfront lots.
Noah was denied charts that showed oceans,
Or rivers and lakes or any blue ink,
Nor even waste, had it one oasis.
All others saw water, saw and died,
But God kept Noah safe, locked in drought,
Kept him too lost to watch all dissolve,
Too busy and distracted, too intent,
Too dry to see the seas lap our chins.
And forty days don't give you enough time
To sex parakeets and ensure they're paired,
To bunk sheep and wolves on different decks,
To do all jobs that daily come up
And still make boats that God lets you steer.
Amateur shipwrights never find time,
Once they've planed the keel and whittled the mast,
To fashion even a makeshift rudder
Or build bulkheads with portholes installed.
That splashing, I'd bet, is a giant squid,
Remarked one old and myopic sailor.
But I knew instantly what the thing was.
It was true, then, what the ancients observed,
That fate governs us all, our parts in sum,
Not excluding even our private parts,
And even when they swim off on their own
Pursuing paths divergent and convergent
To reunite with departed pleasure.
And can any man know a greater joy
Than to have a mammoth sexual organ
Sporting and spouting in seas of pure cash?
You flushed it down the toilet and it grew,
Like reptiles that swim the city sewers?
You're skirting, parrot, the bounds of good taste,
Said Marguerite. Which eye saw this,
That one that's here, or that one that's not?
Not all of flesh is raised, Marguerite,
When resurrection gathers us all in.
Parts that remember God, that glorify,
They go up and leave the others behind.
Tongues that sang praise are saved, but not minds,
So that Gehenna gets stuffed with ragged breath
While Paradise becomes an organ bank,
Stocked with tongues that struggle to find sense.
And so it is with all bodily parts,
Those parts that know themselves made of God
And those that forget, think themselves world.
And yet, even dispersed in this fashion,
With one part here and its counterpart there,
With one a glorifier and one not,
The hour will come that will reacquaint all,
So broken wholes snap together again,
Except hairs perhaps that lodge in carpets,
Or those crumbs of skin that flake from our scalps,
The bits of God that don't easily rise,
And don't, once risen, quite reabsorb.
For all else, the hour comes, hunts them down,
Whips them around until homogenized
And spits out bricks made of clay and slime.
My hour, it seemed, had just arrived early,
Too early, and in too public a place.
It seemed fit our courses should intersect,
That joy should erupt with so large a splash.
And yet, with unlicensed acts, the old beast
Had taken all of that joy for itself,
And left for me only the profound shame
That always accompanies such occasions.
Never before, not in my wildest dreams,
Had I felt myself, before man and God,
To be so indecently overexposed.
Liber Jonae Contents