Rachel Hayes

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Out of the Ark

His foot found land and his nose bled and Noah
felt dizzy with the elevation: he was
high above the waters still churning with sotted rotting dead,
removing the soil’s curse with their life-giving decomposition.

Today it was bright and the silence stopped his ears:
no more sinister applause of rain, no stirring.
No one.
He shivered with cold and fresh-minted
desolation. The volume of his barium task gathered
like vomit in his stomach: rename the animals, father a future history.
Later he would drink the delirious rot of grapes to forget
but now
Noah stared down the precipice
and wept.

A sudden flash —

dream colors made of light, spectrum phantoms on air!
Noah’s heart thudded a painful tattoo in time to the terror
of another unbearable miracle.
God set his bow in the heavens.
The sun bent the vapor to its rays.
Noah sank his knees but wonder lifted his head
at the bridge from the banks of
the brutal to the beautiful.


Noah perched
the dove on his limb,
her warm eager talons
etching marks in his skin.
He flung her into the breath
of sky, the silver of her wings
glinting in the pick
of fierce fractalated sun.
She did not return to him though
his eyes longed for the sight of her shining.
He sighed he fathered he drank he died.
Never did she alight.
The people descended from Ararat to
Babel to Egypt to Israel and back.
Nobody was looking.
Crying slaving hoping praying
never knowing
they sought a bird
with the sun on its wings.
And then the man
waded into the Jordan,
submerging himself
in waters that
once destroyed a world,
a river whispering
echo pleas of the damned.
The rippled surface
cracked open elating: the thunderous plash
for which she’d been waiting.
Blurry high in the arc of sky
then swooping
her light bounced so
off the water
the squinting bystanders
could barely see
the dove


Rachel Hayes received her MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She spends most of her time in the kitchen or driving around in her minivan, singing badly. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, two daughters, and very spoiled cat.

Artwork: “Noah’s Ark” by Rolant Savery, Public Domain.

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