For Noah, In His First Year

In the story, your namesake 

     is told by Yahweh to build 

a tebah, a container to preserve 

     the sacred, the clean and 

the unclean. You have helped

     me understand why. 



Your mother lifts you over 

     waves tangled with seaweed 

at York Harbor Beach. The shore 

     takes in her feet and mine, 

begging us to stay where 

     we are. Your presence here, 



laughing at the sun and the light 

     of being alive, can be hard

to reconcile with any occurrence

     of pain, loss, or thirst. 

But to be thirsty, even this, 

     is to pray a ceaseless prayer, 



seeking that which gives life.

     To feel, and on your best days, 

to know, that such a prayer

     can be answered. My boy,

you are never lost. Send out 

     the dove and she will return 



with a leaf. Close your eyes

     and see holiness in the dark.

The truth of the paradox.

     Build for yourself a way 

of life that allows for 

     new creation, by which



you might find the earth

     with your fingers and pull 

up divinity from the dirt.

     I sense this is possible, 

because holding you is like 

     being held. May the spirit



in all things exalt you

     every morning, just as we did 

when you were born 

     to us, and may you always

receive every living creature, 

     here to help you rise.


Originally published in the Carolina Quarterly (Fall/Winter 2018, Vol. 68.1).


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Ryan Tahmaseb

Ryan Tahmaseb is the Editor at Spiritual Parent. He’s also a teacher at the Meadowbrook School of Weston, a graduate student at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, husband to Katie, and father to a son and a daughter. His writing has appeared in publications such as The Carolina Quarterly, Education Week, Edutopia, Gravel Magazine, and Spartan Magazine. His first chapbook, Mutual Incomprehension, was published by Anchor & Plume Press in January 2016.