In the middle of the living room,
Patience sits on her bed, water lines
a memory above her, rising
up the banister. The idea
of that much water in such a small
space makes my hands shake as I bring
the paintbrush up against the wall.
Patience sits me beside her to tell stories
about monsters that will eat your eyes—
she isn’t afraid of them the way
other girls might be—her eyes light up
like a Heaven’s Gate follower,
awaiting her moment of transcendence.
Patience says she has no daddy,
holding her Barbie doll above her head
like a weapon, the body sickly
plastic white. I try to tell her the story
of Noah but there isn’t enough blood
for her, she’s seen her own floods—
and what can it mean to her,
that a dove found that olive branch?
All around her, the water remains:
stagnant and grey.
And as we drive back to the church
that night, I think about all the things
I meant to tell her, that I need to tell her—
about the Father who promised never again
to deluge the whole world at once,
who doesn’t come and go but watches
from a place we cannot see, desiring
that someone might look up long enough
to catch a glimpse of His hem, flickering
against the sky like a bird that is remembered
for those startling, spectacular wings.