Yom Kippur 5766
Jane Ellen Glasser
Years ago I could sit in temple
and wring my hands
over an extra-marital affair
or atone for time pilfered
from my children. Today,
I’m at a loss. Perhaps if I
assembled my peccadilloes
they would amount to something.
Certainly I’ve told a lie or two
although just now I can’t remember
about what or to whom.
In a year I lost my temper once
but losing it you’d think
it wouldn’t be troublesome.
Besides, the situation warranted
a show of huff and puff,
though, I admit, it had no teeth.
It’s been decades since I’ve stolen
somebody’s heart, but then
some acts of rectitude
arise from a want of opportunity.
Perhaps if I had taken to drink
I’d have an easier time at this:
broken plates, broken bones,
broken homes—sins worthy
of a fast. I’m so pathetic
I can’t even recall crimes
committed by the subconscious.
I’m sure I’ve never tortured,
raped, killed anybody
in a dream. I smoke
too much, that’s true, but when
did that ever rate a flagellant’s
hair shirt and whip! Besides,
I hate to think of myself as a quitter.
Perhaps mine is a sin of omission,
that refusal to recognize the self
as fully human, the flawed work
of a flawless God. Next year,
I plan to do better.