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Fort Wayne

Poetry & Prose | March 23, 2015

[1999]

We walk as a family down to the river
to throw our sins away as bread
stale wheat to feed the ducks
who don’t care much how
our remorse tastes.

I nibble on the time I said
fuck when we had company
and my father (not heavenly,
just a lawyer) gently asks me
to save it for the ritual.

A crowd of synagogue residue
gathers on the bridge and I see you,
snowy hair and milky canyon
eyes and gold lamé pants.
Cleopatra at Sinai.

I tug on your silk sleeve and
you look down at me
my fistfuls of bread
bowl hair cut.

“I love your pants.”

“Maybe someday when you’re old enough I’ll give them to you.”

“You’ll be dead by then.”

You laugh and my father throws
a full loaf into the water.

[2001]

I am nine today, so we eat cake
while the ducks eat bread.
A man hands me a box.
Your pants smell like cigarettes.

Photo by Misako Ono.