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CHRISTIANITY AND LITERATURE Rage His meals he flavored with chives, garlic, green olives to scent his breath with bitterness, though still he feared he reeked-fingernails, hair, every pore oozing the oily aroma of that great fish. Rocked in its dark belly,he dared God: abandon me forever. Abandon me to this magnificent stench. So the monster spewed him into salted air, and Jonah preached repentance in Nineveh, and God received repentance from Nineveh and repented of his own fierce anger. Jonah waited, eager for ash to cascade upon the city, for sharp smoke to suffocate it, for its very stones to sizzle into new flame. Soft rain stroked the air; clover blossomed out of season. Jonah trudged home, scrubbed himselfthrough fiercely silent years, his wife pacing the circumference of their welLFinally she shouted he stank only of rage. LYNN DOMINA 263 264 CHRISTIANITY AND LITERATURE After Naming Mammals and Birds, Adam Encounters Every Species of Snake The first slid delicately across sand, its sapphire scales precisely serrated, its head tapered, flat, narrow as his thumb; the next curled itself around his forearm, its torso ringed coral and black, heavy-lidded eyes inviting as tea or opium. More arrived, rustling through clover and rye. A languid few coiled themselves around the scraggly branches of olive trees and blooming dogwood. Adam heard shells shuddering open as if by hundreds; he heard new words uttered in his own voice: adder, boa, cobra, python. He heard: asp, viper, copperhead. Look. He longed to tell someone, to describe the oranges, greens, the crescents and diamonds. How strong they all were, how supple, how unlike any creature he could have imagined. LYNN DOMINA ...


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