Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2022  Vol. 21  No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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The ark lowered
like a body into a grave.
But before it came
to rest, I could
hear things knocking
bluntly against
the hull. Debris—
a new word
for people, homes,
animals. Noah kept
the dove as a pet,
feeding it a pinch
of nibbles
whenever it cooed
in his ear. He asked me
over and over why I
didn’t coo in his ear, too—
he’d saved me
after all. I never responded,
dragging some poor soul
by the ankles
into the compost pile.
The renewed world
smelled like death
with a fishy undertone.
So many had swum
so far, only to be left
in the mud. I dried
them in the sun,
ground their bones
into a fine powder
to sprinkle over
the garden. I was
raped every night
after our meager
meals. The wolves
would howl
in their cages
whenever they heard
the slap of flesh,
Noah’s grunts
like glottaled
alephs, and after
he was finished,
he’d call the dove
down from its perch,
hold a seed between
his lips and let the bird
take it. He called this
a kiss. He called this
love. We let
the herbivores go
first, let them
before we released
the predators.
That night, I watched them
run in pairs
into the distance,
planting their
prints into the soggy
earth, knowing
their savagery

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