Monday, February 26, 2018

tough luck for cloven-footed critters

I know how the sows snuffling and rummaging in the filth outside the city gate used to look at the pesach lambs being led to slaughter each Nissan.

Their sprightly, spring lamb gait,
bleating in pathetic, naïve bliss
is mirrored in the sparkling pupils of the woman
you love now
as she burbles happily like a baby greeting mommy.
Cold as sow's, my flint eyes smile back at hers.

If the sow could form coherent sentences,
and spoke the Queen's English,
she would think:
you poor lambs,
thinking yourself chosen,
tumbling Temple-toward
over your slender,
smooth hooves,
brides running to be deflowered,
Their blood will run down
the temple gutters
to the sow's garbage heap come sundown.

To be a sow in Israel's to be categorically despised—
tough luck for clover-footed critters, here—
to be a sow in Israel's to be systematically bypassed,
passed by, passed over
(and not just on the fifteenth of Nissan).

You wouldn't know from looking at the sow,
such slights offend her,
surrounded by her piglets and the boorish
boars who bite each other's ears in boredom.

Her tough scarred shell of
encrusted mud she rolls in to hide her heart
belies her one, continual gaping wound,
easily hid in constant snuffling, scuffling,
and sparring with other sows—
snapping at ears and tails—
small bleeding exterior cuts,
petty squabbles distract her from
the sordid sobs she keens into
Jerusalem's cold night.

Her one wound widens
with ritual rejection each annual feast,
re-opened perpetually with
the daily disgust of faithful hasidim
filing past her garbage heap.

To be a sow in Israel's to be overwhelmingly unwanted.

If you could put a pen between
her cloven hooves,
she could give voice to the sorrow
belched out in sobs at midnight.

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