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Assimilation the Jewish Way

There are writers who wear

their Jewish families on their sleeves like hearts

or yellow stars of David


When the curtain goes up on

dawn-fresh pages they rub eyes

remember mealtime repartee, arguments


Divorces, diseases, deaths

how dad met mom how uncle met aunt

it’s like finding yourself in a kosher delicatessen


Where sauerkraut rivals petchah

for nose turning reminiscences

other writers who deny their ancestry


seep into other environments like tofu

absorbing gentile ways, changing Shmulik

into Sanford, like Mr. and Mrs. ex Cohen


Now Brentworth and Barbara Charles

hyphen Kennedy who never had a bris

a barmitzvah or a chuppah


He now a Methodist, she a Buddhist—

as for myself, I chose to live in Israel

where children take their parents


To Chanukah pageants and Adloyadas

where the grocer down the road from the shul

sells bacon on Sabbath and where I fill my tax return


In the language of the bible

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© Johnmichael Simon



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