Panic, because suddenly everything signifies,
a kind of net of sunlight, pulling all directions at once;
the background’s flaw is that it beckons:
the poodle’s boat, Noah’s palm, the dove-magnet:
a barbarity! A flame at the vanishing point!
Where things trace back to one man’s wanting,
which is often the wrong thing for him altogether.
So people drowned. Their things emptied of humanness,
made violent in the deaf water, became filth.
Get used to it, Noah told his sons, drunk, sad as God—
in a story, the first to die are the ones who don’t tell stories.
The rest fish in a soul that narrows, defensively,
into a corridor that exits the ark, into
the awful future: half magnetic, half chiaroscuro.