a poem about tradition and noses


         

tradition and noses

 
 
 
 

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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.

* * * * *

For more Poems, see our Poetry Archives

~~~~~~~

from the July 2008 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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