Winter 1997 • Vol. XIX No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1997 |

America Forgetting

I love its history, America forgetting, the way a woman's body must refuse imprinting the violent contractions of childbirth in order to produce another child. My family, for instance, assumed not one but two false names, well-mannered twins who never squabbled over birthright. This family thrived in the new way, ignoring cautionaries like Jacob and Esau, and most Levitican commandments—in America, ten will do where once six hundred strove. Here's a story from Virginia: a Polish bride and her Iranian husband, refused service not because they were Jewish (expected) but because he was so dark, become involuntary traders on the History Exchange. Later—this before ultrasound, legal sex-choice abortion—she thanks God for an infant girl since otherwise would reveal her groom divorced, already a father, during the hazzerai rites of a firstborn son (law she doesn't believe but can't resist, pace certain tattooed relations). I myself married part-Irish, part-G

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