Tweaking Baby Abigail's Nose
By Sanford Pinsker
Legend tells us that newborns must be pinched
on the nose so they will forget
the paradise they recently left. Life on earth
would be too hard otherwise. Apparently an angel
is charged with meting out forgetfulness like so much milk.
The religious have a slightly different view:
They hold that pre-borns knew all of Torah.
right from wrong, in the womb.
Ut azoi, an angel's touch on just the right place,
causes them forget, and so learn Torah noch ein mol.
In our time capturing noses is what zeydes do.
I turn my hand into an ersatz beak, fingers tight together
and bring them slowly toward my thumb. I watch Abby
as she eyes the beak moving ever closer to her nose
just as her older sister and cousin did. Tradition
is as good a word as any for what we do. Each new
grandchild turns a tiny nose upward and has it tweaked.
Welcome to our world, Abby. May you remember this moment
long after zeyde has moved on to making pennies
disappear like magic when you blow on my closed fist.
And remember too that you are the real magic
who once knew everything that the angels
blew away when they tweaked your tiny, innocent nose.
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For more Poems, see our Poetry Archives
from the July 2008 Edition of the Jewish Magazine