Wednesday Poetry Break

Noah’s Wife

is doing her usual for comic relief.
She doesn’t
see why she should get on the boat, etc.,
etc., while life as we know it hangs by a thread.
Even God
has had one or two great deadpan lines:
Who told you (this was back at the start—
the teeth
of the tautology had just snapped shut) Who
told you you were naked? The world
was so new
that death hadn’t been till this minute
required. What makes you think (the
ground
withers under their feet) we were told?
The woman’s disobedience is good for
plot,
as also for restoring plot to human
scale: three hundred cubits by fifty
by what?
What’s that in inches exactly? Whereas
all obstinate wife is common coin.
In
the beginning was nothing and then a flaw
in the nothing, a sort of mistake that amplified, the
nothing
mistranscribed (it takes such discipline
to keep the prospect clean) and now the lion
whelps,
the beetle rolls its ball of dung, and Noah
with no more than a primitive double-
entry audit
is supposed to make it right.
We find the Creator in an awkward bind.
Washed back
to oblivion? Think again. The housewife
at her laundry tub has got a better grip.
Which may
be why we’ve tried to find her laughable,
she’s such an unhappy reminder of what
understanding
costs. Ask the boy who cannot, though
God know’s he’s tried, he swears
each bar
of melting soap will be his last, who cannot
turn the water off when once he’s turned it on.
His hands
are raw. His body seems like filth to him.
Who told you (the pharmacopoeia has
changed,
the malady’s still the same) Who told you
you were food for worms?
What
makes you think (the furrow, the fruit)
I had to be told?

— Linda Gregerson

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s