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Nittel Nacht

ISSUE:  Spring 2012

Crucifixes crowbarred from the apses
left their shadows, faint or imagined:
a false translation, like the Bibles

missionaries stacked along the driveway.
that morning everyone had a story
to share: in a bus in Jerusalem,

a theology student asked how Jews
spend the sabbath, asked the proper terms.
A Lutheran, he called himself,

smiling as if at a shared joke.
Since their Bibles had no Hebrew,
we brought them to the dumpster,

no need to bury them. That morning
a deer saw me cut through the woods:
not hunted for generations, indifferent.

To separate, we say when comparing
unlike things. Like the deer and the actor
who always tears a certain page

from the hotel Bible, otherwise he cannot sleep.
Like December 24th, when the study hall
knows only chessboards, little plastic kings

that add nothing to their night.


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