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Bells and Pomegranates

In Brooklyn there is a rabbi who will study with you.
His office is lined with books, floor to ceiling and
Wall to wall, hieroglyphics on the spines, a scrim of
Dust motes shimmering in the gloom.

“Cut to the chase,” you say. “Give me the law.”
So he gives you the law. Six-hundred and thirteen
Of them, and a bunch of other stuff,
Serious and silly all at the same time. And yet
You are surprised to find that
You do not have to try not to laugh.

Bells and pomegranates, alternating,
Line the hem of the Priestly garment.
You picture Christmas bells jingling and
Pithy red pomegranates dragging
Down the tunic, knocking against
The Priest’s angles, irksome, like
A litter of kittens at his feet,
And the weight of the whole thing
Pulls down his shoulders,
Causes him to stoop, and his back aches with
The discomfort sometimes felt by
Large-breasted women,
As he strides through the Temple.

You are a photographer, and the
Weight you feel is of the camera
Around your neck, and the thing that makes
You stoop is the pull of that vacant lot,
Where it was decided
That nothing was better than something,
If that something was a synagogue.

In Brooklyn there is a rabbi who will study with you.
All he wants to do is teach and talk and argue.
That’s all he does and you can hardly believe it,
When it is Spring and there is so much of the world.
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