Old Promises While the Ocean Rises – A poem for Parsha Noach (Aliyah 5)

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And I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and between you and between every living creature among all flesh, and the water will no longer become a flood to destroy all flesh.

Genesis 9:15

When we moved to our new home on a hill
I checked how many feet we were above the ocean
so I would know exactly how rising sea levels
would affect me.

Turns out, not much, but it wasn’t long before
I got the news that the rivers were drying up
and the first casualty was going to be
our front lawn.

A new house in a nice neighborhood on a hill
is supposed to last me the rest of my life
but it may have been a poor decision if
I can no longer make iced tea.

I’m imagining, in twenty years time, though
that number keeps getting lower as they
tell us the icebergs are melting faster than
anyone thought,

all of Los Angeles on a reverse wagon train
to the east coast. The gold rush is over
and it didn’t work out for anyone.

If I were a fundamentalist, the promise
made after the first flood might assuage
all my fears of global warming. But these days
scientists speak louder than rainbows

which, as it turns out, might be science too
and not a sign of what will never happen.
My tradition has me look to the sky
in those few minutes after rain

while the sun commingles with the wet
and the clouds. I’m putting in drought-
tolerant plants, and hoping for the best.

These poems are offered free for your enjoyment. If you use them as part of an event, meeting, educational or liturgical setting, please consider tipping the author.

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