Bio Note: Regarding the poem below: although I currently consider myself something of an agnostic, I wrote it as a synopsis of what brought me to that point. (I’m also a retired professor who taught poetry for 15 years at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the author of several poetry collections, and an enormous fan of Verse-Virtual and the remarkable community it has engendered.)
On Learning, Late in Life, that Your Mother Was a Jew
Methuselah something. Somethingsomething Ezekiel. —Albert Goldbarth So that explains it, you say to yourself. And for one split second, you confront the mirror like a Gestapo operative— narrow-eyed, looking for the telltale hint, the giveaway (jawline, profile, eyebrow)— something visible that could account for this, the veritable key to your life story and its denouement. It seems the script that you were handed long ago, with all its blue-eyed implications, can now be seen as something less than candid— a laundry list of whoppers and omissions. It’s time for something else to float back in from theology’s deep end: the strains, perhaps, of A-don o-lam, drowning out the peals of Jesus the Conqueror Reigns, inundating the lily and the rose, stifling the saints (whose dogged piety never did come close, God knows, to causing many ripples of anxiety) and you’re waiting for the revelation on its way this minute, probably— the grand prelude to your divine conversion, backlit with ritual and pageantry. But nothing happens. Not a thing. No song, no shofar, no compelling Shabbat call to prayer— no signal that your heart belongs to David rather than your old familiar, Paul. Where does a faithless virgin go from here, after being compromised by two competing testimonies to thin air— when both of them are absolutely true?
©2021 Marilyn Taylor
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell her or him. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is what builds the community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -JL