I'm a retired teacher and school administrator and I've written poetry, seriously and less than seriously, since I was a teenager. It's only recently that I've taken seriously the idea of sharing my poems beyond these four walls—where they're met with great acclaim by my wife and sometimes by my daughter—and my poems have appeared in journals, e-zines, and anthologies. My chapbook, Exactly Like Love, has been published by Osedax Press.
Tashlich (תשליך) is a Jewish rite, performed on the afternoon usually of the first day of Rosh Hashanah, in which the participants symbolically cast off their sins by gathering along the banks of a river, stream, or the like and reciting prayers of repentance.
When paper hangers reached the top
of the walls of the rich in the Heights,
their hats fell to the floors of foyers,
salons, rooms they couldn’t even name.
These were masters of seams—
still Simon couldn’t make ends meet.
Hard times barked at his heels
as he ran through Europe,
and even now as he paced Prospect Park.
No work--though the Union found for some,
why not for him?
Did he seem like such a fool,
believing when they told him
of a Labor day?
But later, at the lake,
he saw a man in crisp, pressed linen
doff his straw boater
and skim it out across the water.
And as he watched, there came to pass
a parade of the searsuckered rich
who left behind a hundred silver crowns
bobbing beneath the last summer moon.
What if the streets weren’t gold?
He took hat in hand, Lena’s gift,
his battered black fedora, and flung it out.
He’d explain: The New Year was coming--
we’re in America now.
Here in the new land you can
cast your sins even as you make them,
on the fast-forgiving waters of Eden.
A Sea Change
They’ve replaced your hips with cigar boxes
that once held nuts and screws and fuses
blown years before, but surely too valuable
to toss away, the tungsten nearly intact, and who
can ever know what we’ll need one day?
Where were bones are metal rods instead,
threaded for fittings that are counter-sunk
and set for heavy lifting. This should serve
when the gulls swoop low to mock us to our faces
and the catfish belly-up like buoys,
tired from sucking all our leavings.
Now: a metal detector lies on the sand
bleating insistently even while you’re gone.
Those are pearls that were your eyes:
what good is finding any thing now?
-originally appeared in Melancholy-Hyperbole
©2016 Alan Walowitz
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