No One Remembers My Name

HE: gets all the credit, headlines in The New York Times
Blustering Noah with his thick beard and thicker skull
Slopping wine while I steer animals onto the ark
The cattle stampeding, the lions eying the antelope
My muscles burn, sweat steams my glasses

HE: snorting and wheezing as I lug
Buckets of food and water, carefully
Calculating how much each animal will need
From bees to buffalos, mice to mammoths
Pellets, persimmons, mangos and dried meat

For forty days and nights

I guard the ark so a third buffalo
Or lemming or carpenter ant
Doesn’t sneak aboard, word having gotten round
That god was in a wrathful mood
Stomping around his heavens, throwing thunder bolts

At the creatures he wished he’d never created
And the rains will start he warned

And they did

HE: gets all the credit, the cover of Time magazine
Noah at nine hundred years
Barely able get out of bed, griping about
Arthritic knees, nagging back, pulsing head    
Grumbling about hardtack, warm water, no wine

The rain pouring and pounding on our thin roof

I lie next to HIM at night my body lonely, longing
For touch, for release, but not from HIM
A withered man with matted
Hair and the sour stink of onions
My tears spill on my pillow 

Sighs and sobs and drawn out screams
Drown in driving rains

I tend the animals’ sores and sicknesses
I feed them cautiously, keeping tigers apart
From badgers and barn owls
I comb their manes, stroke their fur
Straighten crooked quills 

And no one remembers my name

Let the rains cease
Let the dove land with an olive branch
Then I will leave HIM on the nearest shore
I don’t need Time or The New York Times 
To tell my story, praise my work, but please

Before my life unspools into nameless night
Let me be remembered
Not as Noah’s wife, but simply as Naamah
The woman who tended animals and
Steered the ark to safety

 

 

About the Poet: Claire Scott is an award winning poet who has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. She was also a semi-finalist for the Pangaea Prize and the Atlantis Award. Claire was the grand prize winner of The Maine Review’s 2015 White Pine Writing Contest. Her first book of poetry, Waiting to be Called, was published in 2015. She is the co-author of Unfolding in Light: A Sisters’ Journey in Photography and Poetry.