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Counter Narrative

By January 1, 2014 No Comments

by Rose Postma

In the seven days it took Utnapishtim’s hired craftsmen
to build his reed-stitched boat, Noah must have wandered over
late at night to check his competition out: examining mortise

and tenon, measuring the span of the joists, wishing
he had more help than three elderly sons. Did sweat salt
Utnapishtim’s eyes as he helped his men ache the craft

over a road of poles, down to the still-smooth Euphrates, or
was it just the first drops of rain? While they waited (one bobbing
in the river, the other marooned on the rocky slope) they couldn’t

have understood how the coming vortex would work. As both boats
drifted over land under water they thought about sharks circling
and feeding at high elevations, felt the same jolt in the night

when a mountaintop scraped tracks along the bottom of the boat
like finger nails in a bar of soap. And finally, when they came to rest
on Ararat and spent days releasing all manner of birds back

to the drying land, they must have called hello, exchanged
travel stories or at the least shrugged their shoulders and gave
that little nod that men so often do.

Rose Postma teaches English at Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa. Her poetry has appeared in Plainsongs, The Atlanta Review, Tar River Poetry, and The Mayo Review.