Sunday, January 27, 2008


The phylacteries on
my forehead (small box)
were like a hot iron
the little Black Box
in the center of my forehead,
as if to brand me, once
and forever,
as a son, my father
wanted me to follow
in his footsteps
and the thongs on my left arm
wrapped around,
wrapped so tight,
as I recited the
"Shema" with
my father-
I at
thirteen felt like a
convict in irons,
and felt like I
was condemned
because God
could punish me
and I would die!
My father was Orthodox.
He wrapped himself
daily in ritual ceremony--
His proper shawl and mine
the mark of Cain
I wanted
none of it.

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