Volume 34, Number 1

In the Park

for Alfred Moskowitz

“Jew bastard!”—So says a little boy to me
with a smirk, walking by his father’s side,
the man who must have taught him those words, for
the boy has said them in his father’s presence.

I am bemused. Despite the prominent beak
between my cheeks, I am not a Jew, though most
of my friends are Jewish. Anti-Semitism
is something I just do not understand.

Racial hatred I can almost grasp.
Africans, with their broad noses, brown skin,
sensual lips—so appealing to my eyes—
must seem foreign to the provincial minds

of the pasty-skinned, though you’d think we’d be
accustomed to their features now, having
subjugated them for millennia.
This little boy, though, can’t be more than five,

and the father—he doesn’t even look to see
who the boy is slurring!  Hate is like a plague,
a birth defect that's dogged the human race
through all its days, and now become the norm,

the silken throne from which we rule the world,
so comfy we may never want to change.

—Caleb Perry Murdock