"I Don't Look Jewish"
in which I make a case for my own death by anti-Semite.
Shoot me first.
If you want to kill us,
The Midrash (explanation):
My skin is like swedish snow,
My hair the color of a German apple strudel.
I look white--
“Aryan” is what they call it.
But my blood flows with Torah.
You’ll kiss a girl who doesn’t look Jewish
But tastes like apples and honey,
Brisket and matzoh.
I’ll cry the sound of the Shofar--
A ram’s horn call that cries out
A hundred names for God.
I think I can walk safely
With my star tucked into my shirt.
But eleven dead reminds me
That I hide in plain sight.
Eleven dead rings in my head
And whispers, “your family,”
Because there aren’t many of us.
I’ll start the mourner’s Kaddish
With the sunrise.
But will I still be there?
I see how they look at my father--
His hooked nose,
His dark hair,
His obvious Jewishness.
I see how they look at us,
But not me.
I’ll see twenty alone.
I can picture it now--
When the next synagogue falls
I’ll stand in front of a Church
And call to God.
It’s that damned Kaddish again.
At first, I’ll look like a baptist
Speaking in tongues.
But my hair will curl in the heat,
My voice will be relieved in Hebrew.
My fingers will be dusted with flour
From braiding challah.
You once told me how you thought
That tribalism could only hurt.
You said traditions matter less
With each passing year.
Maybe that’s true--
But the death of eleven close strangers
Makes my heart cry otherwise.
So to the man who wants to kill a Jew,
Test your hatred out on me.
When I’m in the sights
Of a .5mm gun,
I’ll look just like your daughter--
Young, blonde, human--
With a rabbit’s heart in my chest.
If you want to kill a Jew--
Take me first.
Don’t let me hide in plain sight--
I’ll go first.
Forget the Hasidics, the Orthodox.
Leave their black coats alone.
Your sister’s best friend,
Your son’s babysitter,
Your very own half-blooded,
All Jewish cousin.
A reflection of you.
Shoot me first.
Look me in the eyes and prove
It’s the Jew you hate,
Not the unknown other.
I’ll step forward.
Start the Kaddish at sunrise.