Academic journal article Afterimage


Academic journal article Afterimage


Article excerpt

The angel of the floods sheaths his sword, irate, wearing the sulky expression of one who expected to see a younger brother punished more severely. On the waters below rocks the ark, dragging its shadow over drowned fields seeded with bones. Fish dart like birds through the windows of murdered cities. Black water makes their sky.


The waters of the firmament are leashed and sealed with the rainbow, both promise and threat; never again will I flood the world, but remember, remember that I the lord your God am a jealous God, and there are other ways.

Do not open (your eyes, your mouth, that door).

Except that man, short-lived, arbitrary, will in mere generations discover shiny new sins, misplace the warning implicit in the rainbow. The etch-a-sketch world, shaken and pristine, will soon enough depart the blueprint again, wander off in its own lines, a jungle growth of willfulness. In the handful of genetic possibility on the ark, the promise of Beethoven, Lincoln, Shakespeare--Hitler, Pinochet, Bundy.

Lord, says the angel of the flood, nothing has truly changed.

The sun rises on a gray rain-washed world.

Lord ... says the angel, greatly daring, if you let them go their own way, how will they learn? And God, for a moment, lifts the angel to the place where He sits, above time, seeing all crossroads, all turnings, all consequences. And the angel sees:

Sees the progenitors of the human race scatter to the winds, begin the long task of repopulating the earth, an acceleration that gains momentum with every generation. …

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