Two Visits in
We're going to the cemetery to visit
some dead relatives, Mother said, & on the way
back we'll stop over at your aunt's house.
It's good practice to mix the living
with the dead. Otherwise, we'd end up
either being bored at the cemetery, or if
we stayed too long at her house, we'd wish
that she was dead. This way by doing
two things in one day we can do something fun
the next weekend, like go to the beach.
If your aunt keeps talking too much, like she
usually does, we'll tell her that we just got
back from the cemetery, & that should shut her up.
She never goes there, & it shows, because
the more you visit the dead the less you have to say.
Horns on Your Head
The further you venture from the house,
Mother said, the less people you'll know.
Everyone on this block has either heard
of you or has seen you at one time. But
on the next block maybe only one person
will recognize you. Then there are hundreds
of blocks where no one knows you exist.
And it goes on that way until you get
to Nebraska, where it gets even worse.
There, the people never met a Jew before.
They think you have horns, & will want
to look for them. That's why you should never move
too far away from me. You don't want
strangers to always be touching your head.
--- Hal Sirowitz
From Word of Mouth
©2003 Vintage Books