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Poetica Magazine
                                           Contemporary Jewish Writing

Eugene Stearns is a retired health care executive and a lifelong poetry reader and writer.  He lives in upstate New York, is happily married, and travels the world through books. His poems have appeared in Up the River, and Albanypoets.com.

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Incantation 
Eugene Stearns

Incantation


The Saturday when I became a man

I had no sense of what I was about.

The language I was using had no meaning;

At least to me it made no sense.

The man beside me seemed to understand.

He held the magic finger, and he moved

It all along the magic scroll;

All while I mouthed these secret words,

These foreign symbols, into stranger sounds.

The finger skipped a line; what should I do?

I skipped it too;

And no one seemed to fall down dead,

Or waken from their sleep.

I had no inkling who it was

That I was blessing,

Or who I might be cursing with my voice.

Or who was simply being entertained.


But then it was high time for me to quit

My brief employment as a priest,

And let the man who stood beside me take

The mantle back upon his covered neck,

While I was relegated to the role

Of unaccustomed and unwilling acolyte.