Poetry / March 2014 (Issue 23)


Ark

by Jenna Le

The second night of the hurricane,
the subways were all flooded.
So I took a taxi
home from the hospital.
That was how I met Ali,
intrepid cab driver
who had immigrated
to New York from Bangladesh.
As he drove, Ali
told me stories about
his late wife, Anh,
a Vietnamese immigrant
who folded shirts
at a clothing boutique
on the Upper West Side.
Her large Catholic family
disapproved of her
marrying Ali, a Muslim.
But one Sunday, as she knelt in church,
she heard God’s voice
tug at her yellow earlobe
whispering,
Be fruitful… no, be loving
and marry this man.
Be his wife until you die.

Ali’s taxi is watertight,
and it carries him and me,
one male and one female
of the human species,
for many miles through the storm.
I wonder:
how many of those handpicked couples
on Noah’s ark really loved each other?
And I remember how
Ali’s eyes widened
when, scarcely two feet
ahead of the windshield,
a dove was shaken out of the sky,
the way a woman shakes the knots
out of a long silk scarf.
 
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