After counting all the sheep in the world
I enumerate the wildebeests, snails,
camels, skylarks, etc.,

then I add up all the zoos and aquariums,
country by country.

By early light I am asleep
in a nightmare about drowning in the Flood,
yelling across the rising water
at preoccupied Noah as his wondrous
ark sails by and begins to grow smaller.

Now a silhouette on the horizon,
the only boat on earth is disappearing.
As I rise and fall on the rocking waves,
I concentrate on the giraffe couple,
their necks craning over the roof,
to keep my life from flashing before me.

After all the animals wink out of sight
I float on my back, eyes closed.
I picture all the fish in creation
leaping a fence in a field of water,
one colorful species after another.

~ by Billy Collins


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