The Arty Semite

POEM: 'Late for Work'

By Baruch November

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so I tell the man
behind the coffee counter
a made up name,
not my Hebrew name,
which requires gentiles
to practice heavy sounds
of machine gun fire
at the back of the throat
before they get it right.

I could have told him
my name means “blessing,”
but will I ever know
for sure that this is
what my life means?

Soon in the classroom,
I pretend to be blessed
with every answer because
that’s what we must do,
those in my profession —

console a world sunk
in the shadows
of all
it will never know.


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