Monday, October 12, 2015

It doesn't stop at 40 days...

Genesis 6:5-17

The earth's going to drown.
Josie, standing watch on the top step, has no trouble
convincing her brother or her cousin
who, at two, take as gospel almost anything
she says. Even I, their father, am almost ready to believe
given how much rain we've had.
so we build an ark out of the stairs
and nudge as many gorillas, hippos, jaguars as we can up
onto it. As soon as Grammy gets home
with Baby Sadie, we find a spot for them too,
halfway to the second floor
between reluctant giraffes and ridiculously long snakes.
Maggie's already started to cry—Tyler's grown bored
with being her favorite cousin and moved two steps up
and the world might actually be ending,
it's raining that hard. When Sadie hears her sister
sobbing, she sobs too,
though maybe less because the earth's flooding
and more because her diaper's damp.
Then the world goes dark. At first, I think it's Josie's doing
on lookout on the top stair—close
to the light switch—but then I see she's shivering too
as if the story she'd made up has come to pass.
Once you unleash thunder and lightning,
it's hard to call them back—
stuffed ocelots, kookaburra birds, and panda bears
not enough to persuade a tsunami
to change its destiny. It's your fault!
Maggie accuses her cousin, and I don't know how
to comfort Josie, too many jungle cats between us.
Grammy's got her hands full
changing Sadie—no small task
wedged as she is between rhinoceros
and rabbit family—and just when the world seems bleakest,
the lights come back on, and Tyler laughs
as if never scared, and Maggie lets go
of her death grip on Squeaky Bear,
and I make a joke about our grand adventure
while Baby Sadie coos
because there's nothing like having a dry bottom
and, in fact, the rain's stopped
and the sun's pushed through a crowd
of cumulus. Look, Grammy says, a rainbow.
One more day saved from disaster.

by Chris Bursk
in volume 4 issue 1

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