I Ararat (First Ararat).
In vectors, the rain into grass and clanking
like baby teeth across the awning. Bird shit slides off and all
night a cross held
to her chest. God's talking. Listen.
Once-listless clouds grow deranged and dark,
spewing back prayers my Grandma chants. In the kitchen, rats
scatter behind stove and fridge, wiggle
on glue traps until their stomachs split.
Soft meat looser and looser. Think Noah.
Think his naked body stuck to Ham's memory, ashamed eyes on
his father, curse on bone and progeny.
How he must have prayed. Violently,
thunder breaking overhead. The rainbow sign nowhere near.
Ham's damnation cleaved from skin. The animals stuck in
their confines, backhanded by wind
and raging Noah. Would they curve in mum confession?
Would they moo or purr apologies to their master,
stumbling, his naked balls bouncing as he stomps drunkenly to
his cabin, mumbling darkness darkness
? Grandma whispering the black off
lest God strike her blacker. Shhh ... God's talking. Listen
. Rats ignore their own pain for freedom. And God loves the colors.
Hence the rainbow a show
of peace, a bizarre contract terminated
at His will. Ham marked darker than his brethren
so God could keep a lookout on him and his own. And the
rat's mouth tearing at the jaw that red
squeak, the red drip into puddle and the blue
peeping through from the ripped gut, from Grandma's knuckles
tight against the chain, a cross swinging from her thumb, words
spilling from her mouth, apologies
for her calves' varicose veins, ash
between her index finger and thumb, the dark circles
'round her eyes, the yellow in her teeth, her thoughts of
colored men making love to her in a wanted future,
the zebra tone of her hair like a living thing
mid-decision of what it wants to be, to become. Her tongue's
stained sheet, her jaundiced eyes like bowls of piss, the green
pipes beneath the lighter skin inside
her elbow's hinge, her living covenant, her spit-
flashed prayer, her bone-crack knees, on her knees,
and the thunder, and the lightning giving light to see the color
all around lifting like steam from a hot spring,
like smoke from the hissing of coals.