THE FIRST JEW ON MARS

The first Jew on Mars

sifts the red sands through gloved fingers
and kicks the small stone,
glares up at the heavens
the cold sun returning his stare
and waits patiently
for the rain of manna.

looks vacantly across the landscape
and curses under his breath
at the absence of a good
lean pastrami and a half sour,
or even Chinese take out.

pauses to wonder why God
left so much unfinished,
an endless desert to be wandered
for countless lifetimes,
no further tablets forthcoming —
perhaps He was tired, needed rest —
each day is Sabbath.

struggles to remember
the smoke rising from the chimneys,
the souls of a generation
whispering “do not forget us.”

shouts the Shema
to the void, imagining
it is falling on deaf ears.


First appeared in The Right to Depart, Plainview Press, (2008).

TUESDAYS ONLY

Everything important, he declared,
should happen on a Tuesday.
Wednesday, he explained, was saddled
with a deep burden of middleness,
rendering it unfit for much else.
Friday simply couldn’t be trusted,
since five o’clock everywhere came earlier
and earlier each year it seemed.
The weekend was for battling Sabbaths
and there would be no winners there,
merely heavenly losers.
Mondays were out since so many
were halfway along in it before
they were willing to admit
that it had begun, and Thursday,
well, what can you say about Thursday
that hasn’t been written
and said far too many time already.