From Night to Night

poem night to night

Graphic by Emmarogenous.

Written by Yermiyahu Ahron Taub. Yermiyahu Ahron Taub is the author of four books of poetry, “Prayers of a Heretic/Tfiles fun an apikoyres” (2013), “Uncle Feygele” (2011), “What Stillness Illuminated/Vos shtilkayt hot baloykhtn” (2008), and “The Insatiable Psalm” (2005). His poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Dark Lady Poetry, Eclectica Magazine, Flutter Poetry Journal, Hill Rag, The Lake, Loch Raven Review, Prairie Schooner, Pyrokinection, and The South Carolina Review. Some of his Yiddish poems were recently set to music by Michał Górczyński and have been performed at various venues in Warsaw, Poland. A CD was recently released on the Multikulti label. Taub was honored by the Museum of Jewish Heritage as one of New York’s best emerging Jewish artists and has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize and twice for a Best of the Net award. Please visit his web site at For more Jewrotica writing by Yermiyahu Ahron Taub, see Early Talkie.

Rated PG
They said he was asexual. His gaze was downward.
The herringbone pattern of the brick sidewalks occupied his mind’s eye.
He tried to find a formula, the key to its geometric order.
And then too were the weeds flourishing between the bricks,
eluding the death-tug of the upkeep man hired by the
civic-minded citizens, the promoters of beautification.
Only he found pleasure below in the shapes of weed green,
in their purple and yellow flowers resistant to footsteps.
And when weeds were absent, he imagined their flourishing,
as if planted and tended. Did anyone plant weeds, he wondered.
And thus in the downward pull of his gaze they said he was asexual.

They said he was asexual. His gait was methodical.
He measured his steps, savoring the movement of the mechanism that was he,
the miracle that rendered his limbs obedient to his commands, an obedience
not found in the body of his sister Sheyndl, whom he wheeled everywhere,
not to stares, but to uncertainty and grim cordiality. Sheyndl’s
determination necessarily propels this poem. And he appreciated too the
shapes of their bodies through space, how space never seemed negative.
Even when Sheyndl wasn’t with him, he considered how the spokes
of her chair wheels would gleam on a particular day, for example,
on this silver Sunday in the park by the Soldiers’ Memorial.
And thus in the method of his gait they said he was asexual.

They said he was asexual. His grin was partial.
It was noted in photographs how he never fully smiled,
as if the constellations of sadness in the world and in his life
prevented a full range of horizontal mouth motion.
Still there was the fullness of his lips—luscious, one said;
strawberry smoothie at an August picnic, another once opined.
Strangers tried to realize the potential of that fullness
with antics and tomfoolery; acquaintances knew otherwise.
Even when he thought he had mastered a grin in completion,
he was informed by others that, in fact, this was not the case.
And thus in the partiality of his grin they said he was asexual.

They said he was asexual. His days were full.
He reshelved books at the public library. Fiction was his favorite,
but he loved too biographies and historical monographs, the lives of others.
He was always happy to substitute for the children’s librarian
when she was out. Story time was his favorite, for he always knew
which book to select, the words right for the day. And the sonorousness
of his voice transfixed the children, rendering them reluctant to leave.
But eventually they did, knowing he would surely be there next time.
He always was there, as he was almost never sick, the children observed.
Their parents nodded, while reflecting inevitably (and silently) on his asexuality.
And thus in the fullness of his days they said he was asexual.

They said he was asexual. His nights were turbulent.
After he fed Sheyndl, after they recited the Shema kneaded into them by
their widowed mother decades ago, after he lifted Sheyndl from her chair
and into bed, after he fell under the covers, memory wielded power.
Specific fragments: weight above rendering him immobile,
breath volcanic in his ear, and pain beyond words. And so he turned
to the owl hooting in the forest, alert to the creatures below
scurrying in the undergrowth, to the medley of cricket song,
to the thrum and reverberation that was the village night
that would shepherd him slowly, patiently from that night long ago
to the one night now shakily at hand.

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