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:

Everyone belongs.