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Contemporary Variation of the Flood Myth

I watch as not light but brightness

covers the dominion, blanketing first

a few patches and fragments, then connecting

as a lattice of touched-places until the break

is complete. God said to Noah “build an Ark

if you want to survive the flood” and so he did.

When God told me of the flood, I invented luxury

cruise liners so we could be more comfortable.

The vessels soon became dealerships trading in sin,

from the gluttony of buffets to that vulgar pride

inherent to boats—floating the way they do,

saying I’d like to see you do this without me.

I don’t find the phrase “I need a vacation

from this vacation” funny because leisure is hard

when you’re made to feel guilty for staying still.

But for a moment, I see it all. I look down from

the parking garage at the shopping center

and suddenly I believe in the Project

of the American Mall. I believe in the Beach Boys.

Everything below me is the color of bread,

and though there are many things I cannot afford,

they’d let me buy it all if I had the money.

If that’s not a covenant, I don’t know what is.


CHRISTOPHER BLACKMAN is a poet from Columbus, Ohio. His poems have been published in DIAGRAM, Kenyon Review, Cleaver Magazine, Booth, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Boston.


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