It’s said they boarded Noah’s doughty ark
two by tidy two, a pair of larks
sky-bannering arrivals: Lion king
approaching with his lion queen, tails ringed
in royal harmony. Here come two toads,
a portly tapir pair, two ants with loads,
grand prance of horses, pheasant brace, two rats
two geese in front of two fine Persian cats.
In orderly ascent by coupled queue
they pawed the plank or slithered up or flew
into the hold that lacked for precedents
if not for sharp desires of residents.
Storm-tossed the ship, unknown the destination,
and close the quarters where the daily ration
of food, of privacy, forbearance, smiles
grew short as tempers stretched for wavy miles.
At rest at last on high, dry Ararat,
the ark sank into legend where it sat.
As down came wearied passengers and crew,
some walked the plank still two by weathered two,
but others landed three by six by one
or none, for myths and pairings come undone.