Noah’s Wife: A Diary
So I’ve started to gather seeds,
into the hem of my robe.
I choose a dozen flowers
to hide in the cuff of my sleeve.
Rain: small craters in the dust
like holes to plant the wheat in.
Refreshing at first. At first,
things will want to grow.
My ankles are black
with mud. The sheep sink in
to their knees,
Cruel, to choose.
The beasts, obedient, file in.
Who will save the olive and the barley?
I hide a cherry stone beneath my tongue.
When the bears shambled in with burs
in their coats, I secretly rejoiced.
Last night I groomed them,
plucked their coarse fur clean.
The giraffes are seasick—knobby
legs wobble beneath their bellies.
So am I. I pick through
feces, finding the pits and seeds
of what last fruit they ate.
The raven sits on my shoulder.
I feel his beak in my hair, and
his feathers are oil.
he follows me, my shadow
the shadow of wings.
I should have been left out there
in the sheeting rain.
The clouds have dried
and withered like my hands.
Mountain peaks are islands, thrashed and bare.
the water is so still: a bowl
filled with sky.
Two snakes have bred.
Their young slither about the floor.
I think of the poppy seeds sewn
into my right sleeve, a constellation
shifting around my wrist.
The dove is a fool: it returns
to this mess of wood and flesh.
The raven went out first—
seeds tucked in his smoke-black beak.
He won’t return.
He’ll fly until he’s through.
Hannah Fries is associate editor and poetry editor of Orion and a graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Massachusetts Review, Calyx, terrain.org, and other journals. She recently took part in an interdisciplinary artists’ residency focused on mine reclamation with the Colorado Art Ranch.