Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Re-Takes: Moses's Wife / Geppetto

What Moses's Wife Says

back in the old country
I was a well-respected baker
people spoke lovingly about my babka

but that Moses
he was always in such a rush

"leave the yeast," he scolded
"pack my alarm clock"

feh on him 

my mother warned me 
I should have listened

you know what is his greatest pleasure these days?
that Burning Man mishegas

last time he came home he told me to call him

("Fire," for short)

I said to him
go clean out the basement
I'm tired of tripping over your
knicks and your knacks

What Geppetto Does Not Understand

what did you expect would happen when
out of the blue
you had a little boy 
living with you

you called him
your son
but the villagers could see 
that was not possible

his sharp pointy nose
in contrast to your own
flat wide one

and also
who was his mother?

no explanation would have been believable
so you said nothing
which was smart
since you were always a terrible liar

though Pinocchio was just the opposite

the people didn't like the boy
they didn't like him one bit
and soon they could not bear the sight of you, either

they whispered and gossiped
and when they spoke your name
more often than not
they also spat on the ground

oh Geppetto
you were too soft for your own good —
tears in your eyes when the village women
refused to sell you eggs or milk anymore

then your business dried up
(how is it possible, you asked yourself,
that no one has need of a woodcarver?)

and all the while
you only had eyes for your little Pinocchio
Nocci, you called him
or Pinny —
there were other endearments as well

your whole life you'd dreamed 
of having a son
all those plans you made — 
fishing! —
isn't that what fathers and sons did?

but Pinocchio
wasn't interested in fishing
he couldn't hold still for a minute

always pacing around the cottage
getting into this and that
up-ending your little jars and containers
spilling nails and pins all over the place

your tiny silver screws
so precious to you
rolled under the floorboards
never to be seen again

you didn't scold him
he didn't apologize

you toasted his bread over the open fire
until the day you ran out of flour
and the miller turned you away

no flour for the likes of you, he said

you wondered
what are the likes of me?

the people had turned against you
and that was that

before winter came
you and your boy
were gone