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Bris Milah


ISSUE:  Spring 2012

For Menachem Mendel Schottenstein

Across Eastern Parkway the camera
recognized his walk,
neither absent-minded nor harried.

Alone, he did not run his hand
along a neighbor’s
brick wall. Only the maples’ top branches

acknowledged spring, holding it
like a secret. A taxi
sped downtown. How little is seen:

a fedora’s crown pinched on both sides,
the brim bent down,
an ordinary black overcoat and beard.

This is what bris means: each night
he carries home a briefcase
no more than a brown paper sack

stuffed with names to pray for.
Menachem Mendel,
may you learn your namesake’s walk.

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