Mizmor L'David Anthology 


Poetica Magazine: Contemporary Jewish Writing

Eugene Stearns


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.