24 Kislev

Written By: Robert Wexelblatt

One adolescent December, fingering

away last year’s wax from the family menorah,

it struck me that I’d have chosen the wrong side,

would have yearned to join the city scholars,

not those zealots in the hills.  The Symposium

and Sappho, Miltiades and the alluring myths,

Achilles and the Argonauts’ adventures

would surely have inveigled me away from

the strictures of the Law.  Before the prophets’

and my father’s scolding I’d have preferred the

discourse of the gymnasia, sought my

freedom in wrestling, tossing disks, the jokes of

Aristophanes.  Even Epicurus’

faithlessness might feel like deliverance from

the strait and pared down life of the circumcised.

 

Earth mothers always throw the best parties, the

sort that make sky gods scowl.  Backsliding

belongs to tradition as much as remorse

or the miracle of everlasting light.

Robert Wexelblatt is professor of humanities at Boston University’s College of General Studies. He has published the story collections Life in the Temperate Zone and The Decline of Our Neighborhood; a book of essays, Professors at Play; two short novels, Losses and The Derangement of Jules Torquemal, and essays, stories, and poems in a variety of journals. His novel Zublinka Among Women won the Indie Book Awards first-place prize for fiction. His most recent book is The Artist Wears Rough Clothing. Another, Heiberg’s Twitch, is forthcoming.