Today's poem is by Debora Greger

The Ark in the Window

Forty days and forty nights, it rained.
Deeper into the most sodden summer
ever recorded, the British Isles waded.
Swollen rivers burst their raddled banks.

And, on the forty-first day, in the window
of a thrift shop down the streamy street,
an ark appeared. More cardboard box than boat,
open to the daily downpour of dust,

it held a stuffed toy lion who'd lost an ear,
a rusty warthog, a plush giraffe,
all under the wing of a patchwork goose.
A matted gorilla reached long arms overboard

to test the waters, which some god had made
by rumpling a bedsheet into blue waves.
There a walrus floated, fuzzily unconcerned
that Noah was missing—

unless the headless mannequin at the back,
a baby in pajamas spotted like cowhide,
was our patriarch. Behind the ark, more rain:
down an old curtain fell rivulets of stripes and dots.

Up a ramp of scrap lumber, more warthogs jostled.
Onto its nose a gutless hand-puppet fell—
a masked racoon missing a tail—
under the glassy eye of a camel without much hump.

What dry land was left? Just a hillock
of blanket draped over a stack of books.
An elephant snipped from tin had climbed to a shelf
as the waters rose, and now stood stiffly,

under the glassy eye of a North American cardinal
with a scruffy tuft, who looked hung over,
unsure where he was. Two ceramic horses' heads,
sprouting brushes instead of manes,

wanted to curry the green wool of the grass.
By a wooden duck, whose folded wings were the lid
of a compartment too small for even a prayer,
squatted a fake crocodile purse,

barring the way of the greenish tiger-pelt boots
bringing up the rear, chased by the flag of a swimsuit
made of fake snakeskin. A large covered dish
in the shape of a hen sailed calmly, creamily on.

And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth.

Copyright © 2009 Debora Greger All rights reserved
from Southwest Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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