The idea of a Noah's ark handed down from generation to generation holds such promise, and so well suits Goffstein's precise, intimate, quietly unfolding manner, that the fact that it remains tenuous, undeveloped--as do the pictures--is all the more a disappointment. "When I was a little girl ninety years ago," begins the small black-clad figure, "my father made me an ark." And she goes on to describe his pleasure in building it, the figures he carved, her special fondness for the sad-looking smaller gray horse--stroked "until. . . there is not much paint left on her, except for her two little eyes, which look grateful." Her father adds more animals; upon marrying, she takes the ark to her new home; and in time she passes both ark and story along to her children. "Now," with everyone gone, the memories remain: "Our fun and sorrow seem to form a rainbow, and it warms me like sunshine." But apart from the father's booming refrain--"Make it three hundred cubits long"--and the expressed fancy for one horse, the narrative hovers, unsecured; the recollection does not become a shared experience.