The Breaking of the Law

Strapped to the bed of circumcision lies
My son. This mutilation ties
You to the fathers. They will never let
You forget, or your flesh be enfranchised ever,
Though you pray all your life long.
They set you early on the rack, infect you with a fever
Of remembering. In the marriage bed,
When you are naked, there the sign is red.
There is neither meeting nor mating but the past
Cries that you've been waited for and wed already—
I will not bless this mark upon your body.
For you the hurricane is rising fast;
I feel the horns of Moses in my head
And Law wrenched again from the dead
Hand of deity, and I descend out of the blast to you
Mad with loneliness upon this bed.
But I reserve also the rage
That broke the Law upon you like a rain of stone
That other time I saw you so could yearn.
The Law is broken, baby. I will not ascend again.

Allen Grossman, "The Breaking of the Law" from Sweet Youth. Copyright © 2002 by Allen Grossman.  Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.
Source: Sweet Youth (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2002)
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