Of Course You Can Go Home

Should the
seasons mistake

themselves for
wolves circling

faster, and the sun
chase the moon around

the center of the universe
ten thousand times an hour

and should the sky be scribbled bright
still it is so long until an ending

and should knees
always joint up, heel

to ass, the old Russians will still click
dominos on the concrete chessboards

of Ocean Parkway each
time I come to Brooklyn

and the wiry junkie still beats
his mother along the cars

moving past and I
cannot see a Jew in black and white

without rising to
spit at his feet, and still

on Facebook my uncle shares a speech
on the brown virus swarming Europe.


Rabbi Yochanan and Resh Lahkish

Yochanan sat in meditation opposite the doors
of the women’s baths
glowing like a chalice still kiln red
halfway between sunlight and shadow, filled
with the livid roe of a pomegranate
so the daughters of Israel, emerging,
might look first upon fat Yochanan
of all the stuff of the world
and bear children as beautiful.

When Resh Lahkish gladiator highwayman
leaping shore to shore
splashes in beside him bathing, in the river, says
thought you were a chick
Yochanan replies
study with me
and you shall have my sister
he can do nothing
but accept and lumber from the water
to disband his men, sodden robes
dripping off his erection and when he fucks
Yochanan’s sister that night
he can see only the Rabbi’s beardless face
shining purple and heatgold, shadow and sun,

and when Resh Lahkish kicks the bucket
Yochanan walks squiggly lines around
the Beis Medrash, from abortive partner
to partner, until he dies, finally, for grieving.



Moshe Fine was born in 1993, in Brooklyn, New York’s Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. He is an MFA candidate at the University of Baltimore. His work has appeared in The Birds We Piled Loosely, and is forthcoming from Alternating Current. He has served as poetry editor of Welter, and he can be found on Instagram at @shinysquid

Of Course You Can Go Home, and Rabbi Yochanan and Resh Lahkish were first published in Issue 15 of Apeiron Review.

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