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These Three Things That Noah Doesn’t

Story by J.A. Tyler (Read author interview) September 29, 2010

art by Magdalena Bucoiu via the Creative Commons License

Though Noah won’t believe it, this day is Thursday for anyone who still keeps a calendar. Noah doesn’t keep a calendar. Noah keeps smoothed and speckled rocks in rows on the rail of the ark he is building. Noah marks his time with geodes, stone bird eggs. Noah knows that dinosaurs were yesterday and rain is today and tomorrow is when he will see this ark float. This ark will not float today. Noah is only partly done with the wood and the nails and the saw and the hammer. Noah is done with the rain. Noah is done with the quiet houses stacked in rows, their lawns dead or burning in rain, drizzled down to embers. Tomorrow is a decade coming down and pooling. Noah is tired so his feet never leave the ground. And when Noah does open his eyes there is no notion of January, of Thursday, this is rain, and rain is what is coming down. Noah knows nothing except for ark, rain, building.

Inside of Noah he feels there is a small baby who is also a carpenter. Inside of Noah, Noah often believes that this miniature carpenter is building a miniature ark and will be floating it on the ocean of his stomach when the tide breaks loose from his heart. Noah dreams that this tiny carpenter, rather than draped on a cross, will be standing upright at the front of a glorious inward boat, sailing on the spilling out dreams and hopes and images of a man who is sailing his own boat, a much bigger ark, on the ocean of the world. Until the small man inside of Noah, he stumbles into the skin of the stomach, a wall, like Noah coming upon more rain and more rain, an endless river coming down, the shore always masked and separated from him, the ark always sailing on.

Noah takes away any previous notion of an ark. Noah’s ark has a sail, Noah’s ark has a mast, Noah’s ark has Noah up on it, building wood on woods, hammer and nails and saw and these his limbs. Noah’s ark does not have any animals yet because Noah is not done with this ark and the only completed parts are a bow and a belly and a room for Noah with a swinging door and a glassless window where he can curl up in straw and look out at the rain coming in. Noah takes away any notion of movement because Noah does not move but builds, Noah does not walk but crafts, Noah does not hide from this rain but stands up in it, underneath a Lion of thunder, holding his knuckled fist to the growing wood-grain of deck. Noah is building and to build an ark like the ark Noah is building we must forget everything that is not rain or ark or Noah.

About the Author

J. A. Tyler is the author of nine novel(la)s including INCONCEIVABLE WILSON (Scrambler Books, 2009) and the forthcoming A MAN OF GLASS & ALL THE WAYS WE HAVE FAILED (Fugue State Press, 2011). He is founding editor of Mud Luscious Press and is also on the editorial staffs of Dzanc Books, Monkeybicycle, Rumble, BigOther, and Tarpaulin Sky.

About the Artist

Magdalena Bucoiu is an amateur photographer living in western part of Romania. She loves photos that come to life and tell stories. More of her photos can be found online on flickr.

This story appeared in Issue Twenty-Nine of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Twenty-Nine

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