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Fasting on Yom Kippur

They told me

that I’m bar-mitzvah now

a man

that Yom Kippur

is the holiest day


It’s eleven

I’m hungry

we have a wonderful chazzan

better than Koussevitzky

said grandma

but I like Jussi Bjorling better

singing Don Giovanni


Our house is not far from the shul

perhaps I could slip back

grandma might not notice

she’s praying so intently


The minute hand of the clock

is crawling itself to a cheeseburger

two old ladies are consoling themselves

with smelling salts


Its five past eleven

last year sometime

Hilton Olowitz and I

climbed up to the kitchen window

behind the shul

they were preparing food

for some wedding or bar-mitzvah


I crawled inside

grabbed a whole chicken

and threw it down to Hilton

we ate it down by the duck pond

in the park


I hope God didn’t see me

and if he did

I’m really asking his forgiveness

that’s my only sin last year, really


grandma’s been praying so long

it’s quarter past eleven

I’m really hungry

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© Johnmichael Simon



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