Martin Galvin

The Mercies of Noah’s Wife
October 3, 2012 Galvin Martin

The Mercies of Noah’s Wife


Among the most measly of beasts, she has her pets,
wants them, of all foul things, to join  the ride
with Jehovah’s best as if they have earned their right
by being weak, unnatural, harder than pain to love.


The softbellied slug, for one, the buzzard,
the three-toed sloth, shivery spiders,
fly and pestilent roach, the mustachioed rat,
She knows the screeches of the house
will keep ill luck at bay for her kith and kin..


The ones most foul, those she says will keep us most alive,
he gathers up in pairs, one female, one meager male.
He prays that both will die or one, at least,
will wither on the journey out.  He prays he’ll lose


the keys to their pen and have to leave the lot behind.
Hooknailed and putrid things, God’s throwaways,
genetic sports, they mawk and hettle at their work,
stop at nothing, know less than nothing, stink.


He shakes his head in wonder at what he’d do
without her. He’s sure there’s no one else but he
alive could build a boat that’s big enough
to hold the cures of her balanced heart.

Martin Galvin’s most recent book is Sounding the Atlantic. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Best American Poetry, Poetry, The Texas Review, and many others.