Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah

“This is a time for reflection,”
Rabbi Borax says in a mass email.
I hold my own service.
The moths clinging to the screens
pray to get in. The orchids open
their lovely legs. At the end
of the row, crows badger
each other over hymnals.
I cut the shofar loose.
My dog smells the blasts
and heads downstairs.
What kind of Jew am I?
The kind women at cash registers
glare at, the kind with scalloped
edges and frayed hair,
whose voice rises into prophetic zeal
over the slightest hint of a problem.
I smell tsimmes, brisket,
roasted potatoes, kugel.
I smell candles burning,
and apples dipped in honey
a thousand miles away.
No one in the community
invites me for dinner.
They probably don’t even know
I know I’m Jewish.
I remember floods,
earthquakes, bombings,
diseases, deaths—
the misery in 2008.
Why would anyone argue
over their Jewishness?
I flick the lights to get God’s
attention. I draw another glass
of wine from the box. I’m
my own shabbos goy,
carrying enough cash
to get in to a movie
and buy some popcorn.
This year will be another year
of war just like last year.
What should I pray for,
a little less blood,
another day on earth?
I bless my wife, my dog,
everyone I love
and everyone I don’t love.
I do not bless the new year of kings.
I bless the new year of new years,
the act of creation.
Let’s begin again.