May 13, 2009 / Creative Writing
I watched Rebel Without a Cause on TV late one college night when I learned …
August 26, 2021
I had cows. I brought feed.
I had counting and checklists.
I had wonder, each peacock’s feathers
a different shade of blue, no green exactly the same.
I had justice, a sense of right and wrong.
I had fear and paranoia. I built the ark quickly
before the clouds gathered.
I had caretaking. I stocked my wife’s favorite
pillows, my son’s blue blanket. Snacks.
I had beauty: the lions with and without manes.
I had fun: have you ever seen an anteater’s snout dance?
I had perfection, each slat of wood engineered to its right angle.
What was I missing? What was I missing?
People think God told me to build the ark to prepare for a flood.
That’s only partly true. God asked me to build the ark
so I could ask myself questions:
What am I missing? What have I not yet seen or recognized
from God’s world? What am I leaving out?
It took me a while, but when I realized I had left out
my neighbors, God said, Correct.
Then God washed the slate inside my heart clean
so I could begin again from this:
Benjamin Bagocius writes and teaches broadly across literature, spirituality, and queer thought. His writing has appeared in On Being, Tiferet, Pensive, and elsewhere. An assistant professor of literature at Bard High School Early College in Cleveland, Ohio, he holds a PhD in English from Indiana University and an MFA in creative writing from the New School. Bagocius is also founder of the Institute for Spiritual Poetry, which hosts writing workshops, a journal, and other events. Learn more and reach out at benjaminbagocius.com.