Robert Parham

The Ark That is the World

Most things come in twos, at least,
the world itself an invisible ark
holding both, promising return,
safe landing.
                              These words, for instance:
"Why not?" without a tongue,
without the color of their wing,
mean little.
                              The familiar, pained
“Why not?” confirms the worst
has not completed itself, the last fillip
of insult perhaps delivered—the flat tire:
“Why not?”—the bounced check.

But there is another, as dawn reflects
itself on the surface of the lake
where you sit in a small boat,
there only to be there, no rod,
no line, even the paddle inside
as the light takes over, mist about to rise
as though to steal off with this glow
of which in fact there is plenty,
and you say, not knowing you speak
“Why not?” and there is no hint
of question in your question.