by Alex Baskin
our ancestors cut each other’s hair. they knew not of the unisex salon.
on your porch, you wrap me in an old tapestry and unsheathe sharp scissors.
we are both resourceful and jews. we both love assplay. you grin at me and slant your head.
we slant our slantedness, offer it to the world. we read poems aloud. we drink when thirsty.
in your bed, we are unashamed edenites. we wrestle and growl. we sway through porous time.
we’re a pair of cheap chopsticks, desperately trying to reunite, to hide our frayed edges.
inside each other, you pray, then we pray, to a god that she may protect us. bubble-wrap us!
shehechianu v’kiamanu v’higianu. a blessing for firsts—for pleasures, for undoings—why not?
a god spoke a law in a wilderness (this is deuteronomy) then boomed, “return to your tents.”
(and the talmud comments) “for the joy of intercourse.” can you imagine? (you always do.)
our ancestors had god on their dirt-caked skin, and yes they were wet and hard.
those desert bodies knew not of a well-behaved godhead. we know only how to disintegrate.
through moon-gray years, i slog to so much horizon, a sinai blanketed with tufts of hair.
your eyes roll back into nothing. our tongues soften. you scoop me up. i’m avocado.
i love wrestling with you. i love grinning, growling, your gold nose ring.
caress this moment. there are so many people in this city but only one of them is you.
you say that when you leave my apartment you wonder whether you’ll ever see me again.
i wonder how many times i have heard this. i’ve been accused of dropping in and out of lives.
i’m always being told to express my feelings and to have different feelings than i do.
you remind me of home. i am so afraid of you.
Alex Baskin is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School. Rooted in a decade of Buddhist practice and his upbringing in an orthodox Jewish community, he works as an interfaith hospital chaplain. His poetry appears in Drunk Monkeys, Gulf Coast, Lucky Jefferson, poetry.onl, and elsewhere. He has an essay in the anthology Refuge in the Storm: Buddhist Voices in Crisis Care (North Atlantic Books, 2023). Originally from New Jersey, he lives in Massachusetts.