local_library Noah’s Blessing for the Third Dove

by Holly Frances Pettit

Published in Issue No. 45 ~ February, 2001

All of the first day and second, most of the third
I, crippled with cold, froth water and rot
hardly kept Japheth in the gray light of this upper
world. Once the spirit took him and I, drowsing,
barely caught his sash and after many
hard minutes wrenched him back, writhing
from empty air and noxious sea. To this
moment he clings to the deck, dreamed from useful
work, swathed in impotence, mourning Bathsheba,
Ader, friends of the evening fires at his tent
mouth, gone like the lamb, wine and dates.
His mother has stopped calling the boy, can scarce
keep her foot from his ribs as she sawdusts the decks.
Shem, Ham, and the girls have hardened to it,
taken destruction into themselves so fully
that I caught them laughing, grinding their jaws
together against the grit of what falls heaviest,
what should stop their mouths. Surely the Lord
has saved other souls than these for I can see
no good in this seed, so easily destroyed
in one part, so deaf to destruction, the other.

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Born on a SAC base in Washington state, raised in Alabama, Holly Pettit served as a Russian Linguist in Germany for the U.S. Army, graduated Harvard Divinity School, and worked for the homeless community in Boston. She lives in Littleton, Massachusetts. Her poems have appeared in various periodicals such as 2RiverView, Crania, and Portland's Caffeine Destiny. Her poem, "Irkutsk" won first prize in the 1st Annual Poetry competition of the e-zine Tapestry. Links to e-zines that feature her work can be accessed at: http://www.geocities.com/athens/troy/4413/.