Mizmor L'David Anthology 

 

Poetica Magazine
                                           Contemporary Jewish Writing

Keith Tornheim has five books: I Am Lilith; Spirit Boat; Can You Say Kaddish for the Living?; Fireflies; Spoiled Fruit: Adam and Eve in Eden and Beyond. Poems have appeared in Ibbetson Street, The Somerville Times, Boston Literary Magazine, Muddy River Poetry Review and Poetica.

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Incident in High School
Keith Tornheim

“But I hate Jews.”


In the tenth grade, three days a week,

I walked though the high school halls

in the middle of the day,

on my way downtown

to a course at the university.

I became friends with the senior student

who patrolled the high school halls—

once I showed him my official permission—

and sometimes we chatted on my return

as I waited for the start of my next class.

One day I said something

that indicated I was Jewish.

His inner wheels turned slowly,

grinding on an inconsistency.

“But I hate Jews,”

he responded, clearly puzzled,

“…but I don’t hate you.”