Kathi Wolfe




Atonement


                    Yom Kippur, 1950

Stan never wanted God, especially during the High Holy Days.
He craved unholy day pleasures, swapping racing tips
with two-bit hookers at the track, eating traif hot dogs
at the ballpark, schmoozing with ladies of the evening
when their night's work was done, not lusting after
their forbidden fruits, but thirsting for their juicy tales.

Why would he, American as Bogart or Einstein, need God,
Stan wondered, listening to the lecture on rabies
at veterinary school on the Day of Atonement.  Growing up,
he'd listened to Orphan Annie, drunk his Ovaltine, given
to the March of Dimes, and run the farm while his brothers
fought the Nazis.  What did he have to atone for?

Hitler was gone, Harry was giving them hell, Israel
was now a country and Rita, his bride-to-be was so
beautiful, everyone said her last name should be Hayworth.

Why miss this chance to learn how to stop dogs
from going mad, to visit the house of a washed-up,
Old-Country God, Stan thought, until Professor X strolled
from the podium toward him, clamped the meat hooks
down, hard on to his shoulders and hissed "Jewboy!"



Song

Open the door
watch your step
bang the drum
blow your horn
dance with me
catch your breath
make the tea
get the radio
turn it up
hear Ella scat
lick the spoon
feed the cat
fly the kite
let it go
say your prayers
before I forget
I love you.




Kathi Wolfe is a poet and writer.  Her poetry has appeared in Gargoyle, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Potomac Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Wordgathering, and other publications. She was a finalist in the 2007 Pudding House Chapbook competition.  Her chapbook "Helen Takes the Stage: The Helen Keller Poems" was published by Pudding House in 2008.  Wolfe’s poem "Blind Ambition" won honorable mention in the 2008 Passager magazine contest. Wolfe has appeared on the public radio show "The Poet and the Poem."  She is a contributor to the forthcoming anthology "Beauty Is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability" (Cincu Puntos Press), which "Publishers Weekly" has named a Top 10 Fall Poetry Book.  Wolfe is a columnist and senior writer for Scene4 (www.scene4.com), an international arts and media magazine.









                                    

 

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