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Poems

February 1996

Vandalism

by Judith Baumel

My sheep was the dragon
and my dragon the sheep.
Neither was happy in the year
he was born.

The detective walked the edge
of parkway, the gold button
on his lapel flaming in the sun,
and nothing was there.

The letters were neat and careful,
though they misspelled “Zionism.”
The swastikas were balanced and well shaped.
The glass walls of the children’s

classroom were blotted with those red
and black marks
and the sun came mottled through
the paper we’d taped to cover.

The teacher told them
“Someone has damaged
the classroom and the synagogue,”
her words slow and tensely neutral.

So graffito should evolve to this.
And we to here—brain
numb, heart racing, waiting
for an oriental or Talmudic miracle.

Judith Baumel


more from this author

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 14 February 1996, on page 38

Copyright © 2014 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com

http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/vandalism-baumel-3661

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